Janmastami Well-wishes To All!
On the tenth day of the waxing moon of Padmanabha (Asvina) month, occurs Vijayotsava. On this day Lord Ramacandra heard from Hanuman beneath the sami tree that he had found and seen Sita on the Island kingdom of Lanka. Hearing this, Ramacandra held a festival, and then set out for Sri Lanka. On this day one may perform special puja of Lord Ramacandra and then in His honour feed the Vaisnavas. This is a popular festival in north India, where, on this occasion, large paper effigies of the demon Ravana are burned to the resounding chants of Victory to Rama, Victory to Rama.
In the pastimes of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu he absorbed Himself in the transcendental lila of Lord Ramacandra in the following manner as recorded by Srila Krishna dasa Kaviraj Goswami.
Sri Chaitanya Charitamrita Madhya-lila Chapter 15 Texts 31-35.
parama-avese prabhu aila nija-ghara
ei-mata lila kare gauranga-sundara
In great ecstasy, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu returned to His residence. In this way, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, known as Gauranga-sundara, performed various pastimes.
vanara-sainya kaila prabhu lana bhakta-gane
On the victory day celebrating the conquest of Lanka–a day known as Vijaya-dasami–Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu dressed up all His devotees like monkey soldiers.
hanuman-avese prabhu vriksha-sakha lana
lanka-gade cadi’ phele gada bhangiya
Displaying the emotions of Hanuman, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu took up a large tree branch, and, mounting the walls of the Lanka fort, began to dismantle it.
‘kahanre ravna’ prabhu kahe krodhavese
jagan-mata hare papi, marimu savamse’
In the ecstasy of Hanuman, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu angrily said, “Where is the rascal Ravana? He has kidnapped the universal mother, Sita. Now I shall kill him and all his family.”
gosanira avesa dekhi’ loke camatkara
sarva-loka jaya’ jaya’ bale bara bara
Everyone became very astonished to see the emotional ecstasy of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, and everyone began to chant, “All glories! All glories!” again and again.
Sri Ramchandra Vijayotsav (Dassera)
From HG Purnaprajna Prabhu's summary book on Shri Valmiki's Ramayana, Yuddha-khanda:
Lord Ram then ordered, "Matali, drive quickly to where Ravan is staying, but at the same time be very cautious."
Then, remembering that He was speaking to Indra's charioteer, Lord Ram felt embarrassed and so He apologized, "I am very sorry to have instructed you as if I were your master. It is just that I am eager to kill Ravan, so please excuse My offense."
Matali was very touched by Lord Ram's wonderful display of humility. As he maneuvered Indra's chariot close by Ravan's side, Lord Ram and his adversary began to exchange arrows. Soon, the fighting became very intense. Clouds rained blood upon Ravan's chariot, and a flock of vultures followed him from behind. A huge meteor fell nearby and so all the Rakshasas (the monster clan) became exceedingly despondent, while Ravan became convinced that he would soon die.
On the other hand, very pleasing signs appeared before Lord Ram, and so He became convinced that victory would soon be His. In the duel that followed, Lord Ram and Ravan gradually exhibited the entire wealth of their respective prowess. The competition became so intense that both armies became stunned with amazement. Indeed, all the soldiers stood motionless, just like paintings, and because they were so absorbed in watching the fight, they did not even think of attacking one another.
When Ravan tried to knock down Indra's flag, Lord Ram deflected his arrows with His own. Then, because He was determined to match Ravan, blow for blow, Lord Ram knocked down the Rakshasa King's flag. Ravan then pierced Indra's horses, but when the celestial steeds did not even stagger, he became angry and frustrated.
At last, Ravan resorted to the Rakshasa power of illusion to send forth mace-clubs, huge shuriken-discs, trees, and mountain peaks. Lord Ramchandra was able to counteract all these before they reached His chariot, and so they fell upon the army of monkeys. Lord Ram and Ravan continued to dispatch thousands of weapons at each other, and as they collided in the air, they fell down onto the battlefield. In this way, the fighting continued for about an hour. Lord Ram matched Ravan, blow for blow, while all created beings looked on, their minds astonished with wonder.
Both drivers also displayed great skill. But, when the chariots came side by side, Lord Ram forced Ravan's four horses to turn away by piercing them with four arrows. This incited Ravan's anger, and so he repeatedly pierced Lord Ram in retaliation. Lord Ram remained undisturbed, and thereafter, the exchange of all varieties of weapons became so feverish, that the fighting that took place was unparalleled in the history of warfare.
Sometimes Ravan fought in his ten-headed feature, and at other times he fought in his normal form, having one head. On one occasion, Lord Ram managed to sever Ravan's head with an arrow. But, as that head fell to the ground, a duplicate one miraculously cropped up in its place. Lord Ram then severed that head, but once again, another one immediately manifested itself as a replacement. Again and again Lord Ram cut off Ravan's head, until, altogether one hundred such heads lay on the battlefield.
Because each time a new head appeared to replace the old one, Lord Ram began to wonder, "With these arrows I formerly killed Maricha, Khara and Viradha. I pierced seven Sal trees and killed the invincible Vali. These arrows had humbled great mountains and agitated the fathomless sea. How is it that they are now ineffectual against Ravan?"
The duel continued at a furious pace. Both combatants were obsessed with the desire for killing the other. In fact, several days and nights passed without any break in the fighting.
At last, when Matali saw that Lord Ram was not gaining His desired victory, he inquired, "Why are you simply fighting defensively? My Lord, are You not aware of Your limitless potencies? The hour of doom has now arrived for the King of the Rakshasas. Why don't You employ the divine brahmastra?" Being thus reminded of this ultimate weapon, Lord Ram picked up the arrow that Agastya Rishi had formerly given Him at the time of their meeting in the Dandaka forest. That arrow had been constructed personally by Lord Brahma for Indra's use, and later on it was presented to Agastya. Garuda supplied the feathers of that wonderful arrow and the sharp head combined the energy of the Firegod, Agni, and the Sungod. Mount Meru and Mount Mandara contributed their gravity to the arrow's weight, and its shaft was made from the subtle ethereal element.
This brahmastra weapon was omnipotent and infallible, and its dazzling effulgence made it rival the splendor of the sun. After empowering the brahmastra with the required mantras, Lord Ram placed it upon His bowstring. As the monkeys gazed upon that flaming arrow, their hearts became filled with delight, while a dreadful fear penetrated the cores of the hearts of all the Rakshasas.
As Lord Ram pulled the bowstring back to His ear, the earth trembled and the heavens also appeared to become disturbed. When Lord Ram released the brahmastra, it sped through the air like death itself, and then violently fell upon the chest of the wicked Ravan. After piercing right through the King of the Rakshasa's heart, that effulgent arrow entered deep into the earth, taking his sinful life along with it. As that awesome brahmastra came and re-entered Lord Ram's quiver, Ravan dropped the bow from his hand and fell down dead from his chariot.
With great, transcendental ecstasy, the monkey warriors loudly proclaimed Lord Ram's victory as they attacked the fleeing Rakshasa army. From the sky, the demigods shouted, "Sadhu! Sadhu!" ("Well done! Excellent!"), as they completely covered Lord Ram's chariot with showers of flowers, and beat upon their celestial drums.
Now that Ravan was dead at last, the demigods and great rishis felt blessed relief and a peace of mind that they had not enjoyed for a long time. A cool and gentle, fragrant breeze began to blow, and the sun spread its rays very serenely, so that happiness seemed to pervade all directions. Sugriv, Angad, Vibhishan and Lakshman were the first to come and pay their homage unto Lord Ram. But, when Vibhishan saw his elder brother lying dead upon the ground, he broke down and cried in an outburst of intense grief. Meanwhile, news of Ravan's death spread throughout the inner apartments of the royal palace. Ravan's wives came out of the city and entered the battlefield, their hair disheveled and dress and ornaments in disarray. Overcome by unbearable grief and wailing aloud, some of the women rolled in the dust like madwomen, while others went and embraced different parts of Ravan's dead body.
Crying out, "O my lord! O my husband!" one of the ladies hung around Ravan's neck, while others clutched at his feet, rubbed his wounded chest, threw up their arms in despair or fainted away, being unable to bear the grief. Amidst the sounds of loud wailing, these lamentations were heard: "Oh, dear husband, by ignoring our good advice, as well as that given by Vibhishan, you have brought about your destruction. Now that you are dead, our lives are also finished, for the wife has no other support than her husband. This is the inevitable end for such a cruel and hardhearted person like you. Who else would have dared to kidnap Sita and keep her by force, against her will?"
Ravan's favorite queen, Mandodari, lamented, "My dear husband, even though you were so powerful, you could not stand before Lord Ram. You were too proud because of your acquired prowess, and so you became a great burden for the earth. You foolishly could not understand that it was Lord Vishnu Himself who had descended upon the earth as Lord Ram, in order to relieve her of that burden."
"O Ravan, your sinful passion for Sita has turned out to be the cause for the destruction of all the Rakshasas. You always masqueraded as a great hero, but you were actually proven to be a coward when you deceitfully kidnapped Sita. Still, despite your abominable character, I do not see how I shall be able to go on living in your absence." Finally, Mandodari fainted with her head upon Ravan's chest. Her co-wives then lifted her up and revived her. At this time, Lord Ram ordered Vibhishan, "You should begin the funeral rites for your elder brother without further delay. Only after the cremation of Ravan's body will it be possible to comfort his widows."
Vibhishan replied, "I do not want to perform the funeral ceremonies for a man who kidnapped the wives of others, who was merciless and tyrannical, and who was inclined toward irreligion. Of course, Ravan was my elder brother, and so it is my duty to respect him. But, on the other hand, because his actions were like those of an enemy, I feel that he does not deserve my worship."
Lord Ram said, "Vibhishan, I approve of your words because they uphold the cause of virtue. Still, I would like you to cremate your brother's body. After all, despite his faults, Ravan was a great hero. And, it is a fact, that with the death of his body, all hostilities have now ended." Vibhishan went inside the city to make arrangements for Ravan's funeral. After bringing his maternal grandfather, Malyavan, Vibhishan placed Ravan's body on the funeral carrier and then proceeded, along with other Rakshasas who carried the firewood. Going toward the south, the party arrived at a consecrated place where they cremated Ravan's body according to the Vedic injunctions. Thereafter, Ravan's wives were consoled, and then everyone returned to Lanka.
Having given up His transcendental anger, Lord Ram now assumed a gentle appearance and laid aside his bow, arrows and armor. The demigods departed from their positions in the sky and returned to their abodes, and while going they chanted the glories of Lord Ram with great satisfaction. After receiving due honor from Lord Ram, and permission to depart, Matali ascended into the sky upon Indra's chariot and returned to the heavenly kingdom.
After coming to Their camp, Lord Ram ordered Lakshman to perform Vibhishan's installation ceremony. In turn, Lakshman gave golden vessels to the chief monkeys and ordered them to go quickly and fetch water from the four seas. Soon after, Lakshman performed the installation ceremony strictly according to the Vedic injunctions, and all the citizens of Lanka came to the sacrificial arena with presentations of auspicious articles. After receiving these gifts, Vibhishan offered them to Lord Ram.
Lord Ram then told Hanuman, who was standing nearby with folded hands, "Please go and find out how Sita is, and inform her that I have killed Ravan. After doing so, return here with any message that she may give you." After taking permission from King Vibhishan, Hanuman went to the Ashoka grove. There, he found the grief-stricken Sita, surrounded by hideous Rakshasis.
Standing meekly in front of Sita, Hanuman said, "Your husband has sent me here to give you this message: 'After many sleepless months, I have finally been able to accomplish My vow to rescue you. Now that your oppressor, the King of the Rakshasas, is dead, you can give up all your anxiety.' " Upon hearing this, Sita became so happy that she could not reply for some time. When Hanuman asked why she remained silent, Sita said, "I can hardly speak because I am so elated. Hanuman, what you have told me is unlimitedly more valuable than any amount of gold or jewels."
Standing with folded hands, Hanuman suggested, "If you so desire, I can kill all these hideous Rakshasa women who have tormented you for so long. In fact, I would take great pleasure in avenging all the suffering that you had to undergo. I simply await your permission."
By nature, Sita was very kind to the downtrodden. So, she replied, "They are only foolish maidservants who had to carry out the orders of the King. Whatever I had suffered was the result of my own misdeeds, and these Rakshasis acted only as instruments in the hands of destiny." "Hanuman, perhaps you have heard this old adage that was once spoken by a bear: 'A great man never takes into account the offenses that are committed against him. Indeed, he vows that at all costs he will not return evil with evil.' The story goes like this:
There was a hunter being chased by a tiger, and so he climbed up into a big tree. It so happened that there was a bear perched upon one of the branches. Seeing this, the tiger said, "This hunter is our common enemy. Therefore, you should push him out of the tree so that I can eat him." The bear replied, "This hunter has taken shelter of my home, and so I will not do anything to harm him. To act in such a way would be most unrighteous." After saying this, the bear went to sleep.
The tiger then told the hunter, "If you push the bear out of the tree so that I can eat him, I promise that I will not harm you." Being swayed by the tiger's words, the hunter pushed the sleeping bear. But, as he was falling, the bear managed to grab onto a branch and save himself. The tiger then said to the bear, "Because this hunter tried to kill you, you should retaliate by pushing him out of the tree."
And yet, even though the tiger appealed to the bear in this manner, again and again, he refused, saying, "A great person never takes into account the sins of one who has offended him. Instead, at all costs, he keeps his vow to never return evil for evil, because he knows that good conduct is the ornament of virtuous persons."
Before departing, Hanuman asked Sita if she had any message for Lord Ram. Sita replied, "My only words are this- 'I long to see my dear husband, who is known to be always very affectionate toward His unalloyed devotees.' " Hanuman said, "Rest assured that you will see Lord Ram, along with Lakshman, this very day. Now, please grant me your permission so that I can return to Lord Ram without further delay."
Hanuman went and related Sita's message and after doing so, he urged Lord Ram to go and meet Sita at once. "Because she has suffered so much and longs to see You, You should go to the Ashoka grove immediately," Hanuman pleaded. Upon hearing this appeal, tears came to Lord Ram's eyes. Then, with His eyes cast downward, Lord Ram ordered Vibhishan, "Have Sita brought to Me, after having bathed, dressed, and decorated herself with celestial ornaments." Vibhishan went to the Ashoka grove, and through the Rakshasa women he made his presence known to Sita. Then, after very submissively approaching her, Vibhishan said, "Lord Ram would like to see you. First of all please bathe and dress yourself in these celestial clothes and ornaments. Then, mount upon the palanquin that I have brought, for that is Lord Ram's desire." Sita replied, "I want to see Lord Ram immediately. I do not want to bathe first."
However, Vibhishan advised, "You had better do as Your husband has ordered, for that will bring you all auspiciousness." Sita then went to bathe, and after dressing herself very nicely, she was placed upon the palanquin and brought before her husband. When Vibhishan came before Lord Ram, he saw that the Lord's head was bowed down, as if He were absorbed in deep thought.
Vibhishan announced Sita's arrival, and in response, Lord Ram asked that she be brought to Him at once. Hordes of monkeys had come there out of curiosity, just to get a glimpse of mother Sita. Vibhishan and his four assistants began pushing them back, so that mother Sita could approach Lord Ram privately. Because of this, there was a great commotion.
Due to His strong affection for His faithful servants, Lord Ram became annoyed to see this, however, and so He told Vibhishan, "Do not harass these monkeys. There is nothing wrong if a chaste woman is seen in public during a time of adversity or war, a svayamvara, a sacrifice or a wedding. Please allow the monkeys to see Sita if they so desire." Lord Ram then ordered, "Let Sita get down from the palanquin and come to Me on foot."
As Vibhishan escorted mother Sita, all the monkey chiefs could understand that Lord Ram was in a very stern and grave mood. They were very surprised that not only was Lord Ram making mother Sita walk within public view, but that His demeanor was so severe as well. Sita innocently approached Lord Ram with great shyness, as if she were shrinking into herself. Then, when Sita saw the handsome face of her beloved husband, her miseries immediately vanished, so that her face shone brightly like the full moon.
Then, as Sita continued to gaze upon Him with great love and affection, Lord Ram began to give vent to His pent-up inner feelings. Lord Ram's heart was tormented by fear of stain to the impeccable reputation of His dynasty, and because of this, He addressed Sita as follows, in an angry tone of voice. Lord Ram said, "I have fulfilled My vow to win you back and thus avenge Ravan's insult to My honor. But, you must understand that My great endeavor to kill the King of the Rakshasas was not actually for your sake. I did this just to vindicate My good name, and that of the Ikshvaku dynasty."
"Truthfully, your appearance before Me is not at all pleasing. You are free to go wherever you like. No cultured man will accept a wife who has been embraced by another man, or who has lived in someone else's house. I am sure that no woman could have remained with Ravan for so long without having been enjoyed by Him. Ravan was obsessed by lust for you. How could he have controlled himself and refrained from enjoying you by force? By killing Ravan I have regained My honor. But there is no need for Me to have any more attachment for you. You are now free to do as you like. Fix your mind upon Lakshman, Bharat, or anyone else whom you may choose." While listening to this speech, Sita bent her head low with shame. Having formerly heard only loving words from Lord Ram, His talk seemed like arrows piercing her heart, and thus she began to bitterly weep. Being in the presence of so many spectators, it was very difficult for Sita to endure her husband's reproaches.
Finally, after wiping the tears form her eyes, Sita replied in a faltering voice. She said, "How can You dare speak about me in such an irresponsible manner? Never for a moment did I give up my chastity by body, mind, or words. My character is pure and so You should not judge me as if I was an ordinary woman. Although I am called Janaki, the daughter of King Janaka, my birth was transcendental, for I appeared from within the earth."
"Lord Ram, if all along You had cruelly planned to reject me in this way, then why didn't you inform me when Hanuman came here as a messenger? If I had known that You did not intend to take me back, I would have immediately given up my life and thus avoided many months of unbearable suffering. You could have avoided this ghastly war that has taken the lives of countless Rakshasas and Vanaras. What was the need of demanding so much service from your allies? Lord Ram, why are You acting like this? Does my pure devotion for You mean nothing?"
Sita then turned to Lakshman and said, "Please build a large fire for me to enter, for this is the only path that remains for one who has been rejected by her husband in public."
While suppressing His agitation, Lakshman looked at Lord Ram, and when He saw that His elder brother approved of Sita's words, He went to prepare the fire. In fact, Lord Ram looked so stern and intense that no one dared to even talk to Him, and so what to speak of try to pacify Him. Thereafter, when the fire blazed up brightly, Sita first of all circumambulated Lord Ram. Then, after coming before the fire with folded hands, Sita bowed down to the brahmanas and demigods.
She then offered the following prayer to Agni: "O god of fire, because my heart has never turned away from Lord Ram, please protect me. Although I have never been unfaithful to Lord Ram in thought, word or deed, He accuses me of being polluted. Therefore, O lord of fire, seer of all within the three worlds, I request you to become the witness of my purity."
After saying this, Sita circumambulated the fire. Then, as a huge crowd looked on with wonder, she entered the flames with a fearless mind. Within the blazing fire, Sita, who was adorned with dazzling gold ornaments, shone with a golden radiance. As soon as Sita was within the flames, all the women present screamed with horror and a loud cry of anguish arose from the assembled monkeys and Rakshasas. Amidst all these sounds, Lord Ram appeared to become very thoughtful. At that time, all the principal demigods hurriedly appeared before Him, riding upon their celestial vehicles. Then, as Lord Ram stood before them, with folded hands the demigods, headed by Lord Brahma and Lord Shiva, said, "O Supreme Personality of Godhead, Lord Ramchandra, we are very pained to see how You are neglecting Your eternal consort, Mother Sita. You are the creator of the universe and the Lord of all the demigods. Why don't You recognize Your divinity instead of rejecting Sita, as if You were a common man?"
Lord Ram replied, "I consider myself to be an ordinary human being, the son of Maharaja Dasharath. But, if there is something more to be said, then perhaps you, Lord Brahma, can disclose it."
Lord Brahma then said, "My dear Lord Ram, I will now reveal Your real identity. You are directly Lord Narayana, and thus You are identical with all the forms of Vishnu-tattva. You are a plenary expansion of Lord Sri Krishna, the original Supreme Personality of Godhead, and thus You are the cause of all causes. You are the universal form, the support of the cosmic manifestation, and all of the demigods are Your parts and parcels, or in other words, Your eternal servants. Sita is none other than Lakshmi herself, the supreme Goddess of Fortune. Both of you have appeared on the earth for accomplishing the destruction of Ravan. Now that this mission has been accomplished, You may return to Your transcendental abode in the spiritual sky, after ruling over the earth for as long as You desire."
As soon as Lord Brahma finished speaking, the fire-god, Agni, emerged from the flames, carrying Sita in his arms. As Agni placed Sita before Lord Ram, everyone was amazed to see how her body, bright red dress, ornaments and hair showed absolutely no sign of being even slightly burnt.
Then, in his capacity as one of the universal witnesses, Agni announced, "Lord Ram, here is Your dear wife, Sita. She is completely pure and devoid of even the least tinge of sin. Sita was never the slightest bit unfaithful to You by word, thought or glance, and so what to speak of action. Therefore, My dear Lord Ram, You must accept Sita without reservation and give up Your harsh speech and behavior."
Lord Ram was very pleased to hear this testimony, and as tears of joy fell from His eyes, He replied, "Agni, it was necessary for Sita to undergo this trial by fire in order to convince the masses of people of her purity. If I had prevented Sita from entering the fire, people would have criticized Me for accepting her without first proving her chastity. They would have concluded that I had only taken her back because of being under the influence of lust to enjoy her."
"Actually, I knew all about Sita's purity, and I knew that Ravan could never have polluted her, for she is fully protected by the prowess of her righteousness. It was only to prove Sita's chastity to the world that I appeared to neglect her. Factually, Sita is not different from Me, for she is directly My internal potency, the hladhini-sakti. Just as sunlight, being not different from the sun, is inseparable from the sun, so there is no possibility of My rejecting Sita."
Actually, Lord Ram felt great transcendental bliss while being reunited with Sita, for His pastimes were all manifestations of His internal potency, and had been enacted for the purpose of relishing spiritual relationships. Lord Shiva then addressed Lord Ram, saying, "My dear Lord, by slaying the incomparably powerful Ravan, You have performed a wonderful feat that will be glorified throughout the three worlds until the time of dissolution." Then, while pointing toward the sky, Lord Shiva said, "Lord Ram, look up and see how Your father is waiting, seated upon his celestial chariot. After having been delivered by Your mercy, he now resides in the planet of Indra, the King of heaven. Go quickly, along with Lakshman, and be reunited with Maharaja Dasharath, for he has come here just to see You."
Lord Ram and Lakshman went and bowed down before Their father. Feeling extremely delighted, Maharaja Dasharath took Lord Ram on his lap and said, "My residence in heaven does not give me any real pleasure. Ram, only now that I am able to see You do I feel happy. Kaikeyi's words, demanding Your exile, have always remained imprinted on my heart. Only now that Your period of exile has ended do I feel somewhat relieved. I yearn to see Your return to Ayodhya and installed as the Emperor, after being reunited with Bharat. I can now understand that You are the Supreme Lord, Vishnu, and that You had descended upon the earth for the purpose of vanquishing Ravan."
Lord Ram replied, "My dear father, I also feel greatly relieved now that My period of exile is over and My mission has been accomplished. But still, there is one thing that I wish that you would grant Me. May you now withdraw the harsh words that you had spoken at the time of My banishment, disowning Kaikeyi and Bharat."
Maharaja Dasharath readily consented, saying, "Let it be so." Then he fondly embraced Lakshman and declared, "My dear son, because of the dedicated service that You have rendered to Ram, I feel eternally indebted to You. You should know that Your elder brother is directly the Supreme Personality of Godhead, appearing in human form, for the welfare of the world. He is worshipful even by the greatest demigods, and so what to speak of ourselves."
Maharaja Dasharath then told Sita, "Please do not bear any grudge against Ram for having tested your purity. You can rest assured that your remarkable behavior will earn you a place in history as the most glorious woman the world has ever seen."
Having thus spoken, Maharaja Dasharath remounted his celestial chariot and ascended to heaven. Then, as Lord Ram stood before him with folded hands, Indra said, "My audience can never go in vain, and so I wish that You would take a benediction from me."
Lord Ram was pleased to hear this, and He requested, "King of the celestials, please bring back to life all the monkey warriors who died in My service. In addition, let all the trees in the places where these great heroes dwell become full of fruit, even when out of season." Indra replied, "Although this boon is very difficult for even me to grant, I shall happily do so."
Immediately, all the monkeys who had died in the battle began to rise up from the ground, and since all of their wounds were completely healed, it appeared to them as if they were awakening from a deep sleep. But, when they saw Lord Ram and all the demigods before them, the monkeys could understand that they had gotten back their lost lives, and so they felt supremely delighted. Indra then ascended to heaven, followed by all the demigods. Lord Ram and the monkeys passed the night at that place. The next morning, Vibhishan came to see Lord Ram, along with numerous maidservants who carried all kinds of paraphernalia for His bath.
However, Lord Ram ordered, "My dear Vibhishan, summon all the monkeys, headed by Sugriv, and let them utilize this royal luxury. As long as I am separated from Bharat, who is practicing severe austerities on My behalf, such opulence does not appeal to Me. My only request is that you arrange for My speedy passage back to Ayodhya, for to travel there by foot would be an arduous journey."
Vibhishan replied, "I can enable You to reach Ayodhya this very day by making use of the Pushpaka chariot. But, I request that You, Sita and Lakshman remain here for some time, along with the army of monkeys, so that I can royally entertain all of you before Your departure." Lord Ram replied, "I certainly cannot refuse your hospitality, and yet, because My anxiety to meet Bharat, My mother and My step-mothers is so great, I beg that you allow Me to depart without delay."
Vibhishan quickly went and brought the Pushpaka chariot. This wonderful vehicle had originally belonged to Kuvera, before it had been forcibly taken away by Ravan. The Pushpaka chariot was built by Vishvakarma and was made mostly of gold, and had seats made of vaidurya gems. This aerial chariot could travel anywhere, following the mental indications of its driver. When Lord Ram and Lakshman saw the chariot awaiting Their commands, They were astonished. But, before departing, Lord Ram requested Vibhishan to present gifts of gold and jewels to all the monkey soldiers. Then, after mounting the Pushpaka chariot, along with Lakshman and Sita, Lord Ram addressed those who surrounded Him.
Lord Ram said, "There is no way I can repay all you monkey warriors for your heroic fighting on My behalf. Your unflinching devotional service will always serve as an inspiration for future devotees. Your glories will forever shine brightly. Now, please return to Kishkindha and live there happily under Sugriv's leadership. Vibhishan, you should accept the responsibility for ruling over Lanka at once, because the citizens have become bereft of their king."
While standing before Lord Ram with folded hands, Sugriv and Vibhishan pleaded, "O Lord, please allow us to accompany You to Ayodhya. After seeing the coronation ceremonies, we will return home." Lord Ram replied, "There is nothing that would please Me more than to return to Ayodhya along with all of My dear friends. Both of you can get up onto the Pushpaka chariot, and let all the other monkey heroes and Rakshasas come along as well."
Finally, after all were comfortably seated, the Pushpaka chariot rose up majestically into the air. While the monkeys, bears and Rakshasas were enjoying the flight, Lord Ram pointed out all the sights to Sita. Lord Ram said, "Just see the great battlefield where all the heroic Rakshasas lay dead, having been killed just for your sake. There is Ravan, there is Kumbhakarna, there is Indrajit, and there is Prahasta. Over there is the bridge called Nalasetu, over which we had crossed the ocean to Lanka. There, on the far shore, is Setubandha, where Lord Shiva had appeared to Me, and where the construction of the bridge had begun. From this time on, Setubandha will be a very sacred place, capable of washing away all of one's accumulated sinful reactions."
Then, when Lord Ram pointed out Kishkindha, Sita said, "I would be pleased if I could return to Ayodhya in the company of all the wives of the monkey chiefs."
Lord Ram granted Sita's wish, and after halting the chariot, He instructed Sugriv and others to quickly go and bring their wives. When everyone was once again seated, the journey continued.
Lord Ram then pointed out, "There is Mount Rishyashringa, where I met Sugriv, and nearby, you can see the heavenly Lake Pampa, which is full of bluish lotus flowers. Further on, you can see the River Godavari, and on its banks, the ashram of Agastya Rishi. Sita, there is the spot where Ravan kidnapped you! There is Chitrakoot, where Bharat came to meet Me. There is the River Yamuna, and there is the mighty Ganga, where King Guha's capital, Shringaverapur, can be seen."
In this way, Sita, Lord Ram and Lakshman remembered Their entire forest life, in reverse order, as They retraced their way back home to Ayodhya. Finally, the River Sarayu came into view, and then, at last, the outskirts of Ayodhya. Before entering Ayodhya, Lord Ram stopped at Bharadvaj Rishi's ashram, so that He could inquire about the welfare of His relatives before meeting them. After heartily welcoming Lord Ram and receiving His obeisances in return, Rishi Bharadvaj said, "In Your absence, Bharat has been living a life of severe austerities, wearing deerskin and tree bark and keeping matted hair. He has been ruling the kingdom as Your subordinate by keeping Your shoes upon the royal throne. Lord Ram, by dint of my mystic power I know everything that has happened during Your exile. I am very pleased that You have removed the burden of the earth, and so I would like to award You with any benediction that You may desire."
Lord Ram happily replied, "Let all of the trees along the way to Ayodhya become full of fruit and flowers. Let streams of honey flow from these trees, exuding the fragrance of nectar."
As soon as these words were spoken, all the trees along the road to Ayodhya immediately became filled with sumptuous fruits. When they saw this miraculous transformation, thousands of monkeys quickly jumped down from the Pushpaka chariot and began feasting to their full satisfaction. Lord Ram was always thinking of how He could reward the monkeys for the selfless service they had rendered, and so He felt very happy to have received this opportunity to please them.
Then, turning to Hanuman, Lord Ram said, "I would like you to go and inform Guha of My arrival. After that, go to Nandigram. I want you to describe to Bharat all the events surrounding Sita's abduction and her subsequent recovery. Watch the expression on Bharat's face very carefully as He hears about My arrival. Then, report back to Me before we leave this place. If Bharat wants to rule the kingdom, whether it be due to attachment for position and its resultant power, or attachment to royal luxuries, or even because of Kaikeyi's urging, I am happy to allow Him to do so." Hanuman took a human form and departed, traveling through the air. First, he went and informed Guha that Lord Ram would come to meet him after spending the night at Rishi Bharadvaj's ashram. Then, upon his arrival at Nandigram, Hanuman saw Bharat dressed in tree bark and having matted hair. Bharat had been living in a small cottage, subsisting only upon fruit and roots, and he appeared to be very miserable and emaciated.
Hanuman approached Bharat and announced, "I have come here as a messenger from Lord Ram. He inquires about your welfare, and He wants to inform you that He will return to Ayodhya very soon."
When Bharat heard these nectarine words, his face lit up with great delight. Having become exhilarated with transcendental emotion, he suddenly fainted onto the ground. After coming to his senses, Bharat stood up and embraced Hanuman with great satisfaction. While bathing Hanuman with torrents of tears, Bharat said, "Because you have brought me this wonderful news, I will immediately reward you with 100,000 cows, 100 villages and 16 virgin girls to marry. Please sit down and tell me everything that happened during Lord Ram's exile."
Hanuman narrated everything. When he heard about Lord Ram's immanent return, Bharat exclaimed, "My long-cherished desire is finally going to be fulfilled!"
Bharat then ordered Shatrughna to make all the arrangements for Lord Ram's reception. Sumantra and the other ministers soon arrived at Nandigram, riding upon elephants, and Kaushalya, Sumitra and Kaikeyi came riding on palanquins. Engineers and work crews also arrived, to begin constructing a new road connecting Nandigram with Ayodhya.
After all the arrangements were made, Bharat picked up Lord Ram's sandals, a white royal umbrella and chamaras. Then, accompanied by many brahmanas, he went out from his cottage amidst the blowing of conch shells and beating of drums, to wait for Lord Ram's arrival.
Meanwhile, because the news had spread like wildfire, practically the entire population of Ayodhya came to Nandigram in the expectation of seeing Lord Ram. But then, after some time, when there was still no sign of His arrival, Bharat told Hanuman, "I hope that you are not exhibiting your frivolous monkey nature by joking with me."
Hanuman then pointed out to Bharat clouds of dust in the distance that were being raised by the approaching monkeys. Just then, tumultuous roaring sounds became distinctly audible as well. When Hanuman sighted the Pushpaka chariot in the distance, he shouted, "Here comes Sri Ram!" A loud clamor arose as the restless crowd of people sighted the Pushpaka chariot, appearing like the full moon in the sky.
Then, as everyone got down from their horses, elephants and chariots, out of respect, Bharat began to worship Lord Ram from a distance. With folded hands, Bharat recited many prayers to the Lord, and then He offered various articles. Finally, when Bharat could distinctly see Lord Ram, who was glowing magnificently while seated at the front of the Pushpaka chariot, He bowed down with great reverence.
When the celestial airship landed, Bharat rushed forward and climbed aboard to greet His elder brother. Lord Ram immediately got up from His seat, and after embracing Bharat with great affection, He took Him upon His lap. Afterwards, Bharat greeted Lakshman and Sita, and then, while embracing Sugriv he said, "Although We are four, you are now just like Our fifth brother." At this time, Lord Ram approached His mother, Kaushalya, and lovingly clasped her feet. Then, one after another, He greeted Sumitra, Kaikeyi and Vasishtha, as all the citizens came forward to welcome Him with folded hands.
Bharat then approached Lord Ram, carrying His wooden shoes in His hands. As He carefully placed those slippers on Lord Ram's lotus feet, Bharat said, "Here is the kingdom that I was overseeing in Your absence. By Your mercy, Ayodhya is flourishing and the treasury, storehouses and army have all increased tenfold. My duty is now over and so I hereby relinquish everything to You." After this, Lord Ram ordered the Pushpaka chariot to return to its original owner, the god of wealth, Kuvera. That celestial vehicle then ascended into the sky, heading toward the North. When Lord Ram sat down at the lotus feet of His spiritual master, Vasishtha, Bharat came and requested, "My dear elder brother, please install Yourself on the royal throne without further delay, and then resume a life of royal luxury."
Lord Ram gave His consent and so barbers were immediately summoned and His matted hair was shaved off. After bathing, Lord Ram dressed in a royal style, while the three mothers similarly dressed Sita and the wives of the monkeys. Then, at Shatrughna's command, Sumantra came to Lord Ram with a lavishly decorated chariot. Lord Ram graciously mounted upon it, Bharat took up the reins and Shatrughna held the royal white umbrella. On either side of Lord Ram stood Lakshman and Vibhishan, waving a fan and a chamara, and from the sky, the demigods and celestial rishis glorified Him with carefully chosen words. As Lord Ram proceeded toward Ayodhya, a huge procession followed Him, and all the monkeys, appearing in human form, rode upon elephants. When Lord Ram entered His capital, He saw how all the citizens had come out of their houses and lined the streets to welcome Him. Men and women, the elderly and the children gazed upon Lord Ram as if they were getting back their long-lost lives. While waving their cloths and jumping with excitement, the people shouted, "Our beloved prince has returned! All glories to Lord Ram, the maintainer of His devotees!" Amidst the playing of musicians and the chanting of Vedic mantras by the brahmanas, Lord Ram reciprocated by glancing lovingly over His subjects. While approaching his father's palace, Lord Ram greeted His ministers and described to them the political alliances He had made with the monkeys and Vibhishan.
Lord Ram ordered that His palace be given for Sugriv's use, and so Bharat took the King of the monkeys by the hand and led him there. Then, at Bharat's request, Jambavan, Hanuman, Gavaya and Rishabha brought water from the four seas while five hundred other powerful monkeys brought water from five hundred sacred rivers. These vessels of water were placed before Vasishtha. Soon after, the rishi had Lord Ram seated along with Sita upon a royal throne. Then, with the assistance of Vamadeva, Jabali, Kashyapa, Katyayana, Sujagya, Gautama and Vijaya Rishis, Vasishtha performed the abhishek, and the first bathing was done by the brahmanas. Next, unmarried virgin girls got the chance to bathe Lord Ram, and then the ministers, leading warriors, and lastly, vaishyas, one after another. After the final bathing, Vasishtha had Lord Ram sprinkled over with herbs by the four Lokapalas and other chief demigods, who were witnessing the coronation from the sky. When Lord Ram sat on the golden throne bedecked with valuable jewels, Vasishtha came and placed the royal crown on His head and decorated His body with gold ornaments. This crown had been worn by all the Kings of the Ikshvaku dynasty, and was made by Lord Brahma especially for the coronation of Vaivasvata Manu.
Then, at Indra's prompting, Vayu came and placed a garland made from one hundred golden lotus flowers around Lord Ram's neck. The god of air also presented a celestial necklace made of pearls and jewels. Shatrughna held the umbrella over Lord Ram's head while Sugriv and Vibhishan fanned Him from both sides.
At the completion of the ceremony, as the Gandharvas sang and the Apsaras danced in ecstasy, Lord Ram gave away 100,000 cows in charity to the brahmanas, as well as 300 million gold coins and all varieties of precious jewels. Lord Ram gave a celestial necklace of gold and jewels to Sugriv, and He gave Angad a pair of bracelets that were adorned with diamonds and vaidurya stones. To Sita, Lord Ram presented the necklace that had been given to Him by Vayu, as well as many lavishly decorated dresses.
Mother Sita had a very strong wish to give something to Hanuman as a token of her appreciation for all that he had done for her. With this in mind, she unclasped the necklace that Lord Ram had given her and then looked at the Lord questioningly. Understanding her intention, Lord Ram requested Sita to give the necklace to Hanuman and so she happily went and placed it around his neck. All the monkey chiefs were given valuable clothing and ornaments, and in this way the coronation of Lord Ram came to a successful conclusion. Being greatly satisfied at heart, all the monkeys returned to their respective kingdoms and Vibhishan also departed for Lanka. After all had left, Lord Ram said to Lakshman, "My dear brother, now that I have been installed upon the royal throne, I wish to install You as My successor."
And yet, despite being repeatedly addressed by Lord Ram in this way, Lakshman remained silent, for He refused to accept the proposal. Lord Ram could very well understand Lakshman's mind, and so, at last, He conferred the title upon Bharat.
Thereafter, Lord Ram ruled the earth from His capital, Ayodhya, for 11,000 years. During that period, Lord Ram performed numerous sacrifices, including one hundred ashvamedha-yagyas. During the reign of Lord Ram, there were no widows to lament the loss of their husbands, there were no diseases, and there were no thieves. In fact, even wild animals gave up their natural enmity and did not kill one another. All the citizens were fully righteous, and they considered Lord Ram their Lord and master, and beyond that, their very life and soul. Everyone lived for thousands of years and had many sons. All talk was centered about Lord Ram alone. Thus, the entire earth appeared as if it had been transformed into the kingdom of God, Vaikunthaloka. Lav and Kush concluded their narration by saying, "Anyone who daily listens to this transcendental history, known as Ramayana, will become completely freed from all sinful reactions. This sacred narration grants prowess, longevity and victory to those who subdue their passions and hear with faith."
Jai Sri Ram
THE UNTOLD STORIES OF THE RAMAYANA
Transcribed from lectures given by His Grace Atma-tattva dasa during Gaura-purnima 1989 in Sridham Mayapura
CHAPTER 13: THE KILLING OF MAHI RAVANA
Hanuman was flying over the ocean looking for lotus flowers. He came to an area where there were many lotuses, and he saw one particularly big lotus. "That must be the lotus," he thought. He entered it, and he was thinking, "What are those sounds? I should have asked Vibhisana. Anyway, I can't waste any time." He prayed to Vayu, and Vayu came in front of him. "What is the problem Hanuman?" Vayu asked. Hanuman said, "The problem is that I have to go inside here, and some sound is supposed to be pronounced. I forgot." Vayu said, "Don't worry. This is working by suction system. Suction system is by air, and I am that. You go." The lotus opened, and Hanuman went through very quickly, and he landed on the bottom, and looked around. What he saw was a big tank which was known as kalpa, or the desire fulfilling tank. People were coming from the city, taking a little water from there to go and worship Kali. Hanuman thought, "This is the outside of the city, and it looks so wonderful.
The inside must be even more beautiful." Then he was wondering how to enter, and there was a brick fort. On top of the brick fort there were two thousand lakhs of demon soldiers walking with their bows and arrows. Hanuman saw them and thought, "I want to finish all of them together and it is very good that they are all on the fort. If they are spread out it is very difficult, but they are all in one spot. This is good arrangement. Now what should I use to kill them?" and he was looking around. Then he heard a sound. "Hanuman! I am here! Use me!" He looked back, and there was a big tall tree, very big and fat. The tree was talking. Hanuman said, "Who are you, and how are you talking?" The tree said, "I am a demigod. I was cursed by Narada Muni to become a tree. `Why will you make me a tree?' I asked him. `I will become useless.' He said, `No, I will make you a useful tree. You will grow in Mahipuri, and when Hanuman comes he will use you for the war.' Please use me Hanuman, that is what I am here for." So Hanuman took that whole tree, and then he held it up and brought it down upon the fort wall. Two thousand lakhs of soldiers were finished. Then he opened the door wide and went inside. He crossed a forest. That was the brick fort, and now there was a brass fort. So many more soldiers were there. He stood there and he slapped his shoulders, challenging them. They all jumped off and they formed themselves into an army. They were marching, left right left right.
Hanuman increased his hands. His form was the same, but his hands increased. He went as much as the army was there, and he closed the hands and threw the soldiers to one side. He opened that door and went inside, and he went through a forest. Then he came to the copper fort. There was three times more soldiers there. There were eighteen thousand lakhs of soldiers. So he grew and took his visvarupa, a huge big form, and then he looked at them and he breathed. They were all finished. He opened that fort. Then he came to the white metal fort. At that fort there was one demon who was leading all of them, and he had got mystic perfections. He produced a storm, and began producing rain. He produced stool rain, bone rain and all kinds of rain. Hanuman came there, and said, "This is very bad." He looked at them, and they all disappeared. They were illusion. They couldn't stand the gaze of Hanuman. Hanuman took that demon in his hand and said, "You create all this illusion. You are so vile that even your dead body shouldn't remain here." And he ate him up. Hanuman is no vegetarian. When the soldiers saw this, they thought, "Oh, this is very difficult, we must run away." But Hanuman did not let them run away. He took them all in groups and started eating them. He was hungry for a long time and had not eaten anything. He ate some, crushed some, threw some away. He finished all of them, and then he opened that gate. Then he came to the bell metal fort, and each one was whiter than the other. He came in there, and he thought, "What to do with all this?" And then he sat in one place, and he got so angry. He looked, and the fire came out of his eyes. The whole fort just melted. In that melting, all the soldiers died. This time he didn't open any door, because it was all finished. He just climbed over. The white metal fort was finished, and he came to the golden gate.
In front of the golden gate was a machine. It was a big meter, and it had a hand on a scale. When anyone passes that way, it would show whether they were a friend of Mahi Ravana, or they are inimical toward Mahi Ravana. According to your inimical feeling, it would show ten degrees, twenty, thirty degrees. It was very difficult. If it moved a little bit this way, the army was ready to come and finish you. Hanuman thought, "Now I have to do some lila," and he was waiting outside. In the meantime, Mahi Ravana was sitting in his room, and he called his sister. There is a story that his sister, who was married to another demon, they had a son. When the son was gone there was an ashariri from the sky who told them, "This son will become king when Mahi Ravana dies." Mahi Ravana did not want to die, and he did not want anyone else to become king, so he put that family in the jail, just as Kamsa did. So her name was Duratandi. This Duratandi and her son Nilamega were both in jail. But this Duratandi had a very auspicious power that any abhiseka or puja that had to be done, if you ask her to bring water then the puja was always successful. Now they had to do a very important puja, sacrificing Rama, so that is why he gave her a release. He only released her legs from the chain, her hands were still bound up. Servants would go with her and only at the water tank would the chains be opened. She would collect the water, and the chains would be locked again, and she had to bring back the water. This was the plan of Mahi Ravana, and he was telling Duratandi to do that. So Duratandi was coming to the water tank, close to which Hanuman was standing. He was behind a tree and thinking how to get in the gate.
She came and while taking water she was lamenting, openly cursing Mahi Ravana. "What a brother I have! He wants to kill Rama and Laksmana." When Hanuman heard that he jumped up and came in front of her. "What did you say? You know where Rama and Laksmana are? I am looking for them!" She said, "Who are you? Are you Ravana, taking another form?" "No, no, I am Hanuman, the servant of Ramacandra." She said, "Oh, you must help me!" She gave a whole story, and he said, "Don't worry. If you help me I will help you." She said, "How will I help you?" He said, "I will become small, and I will enter a leaf. You put the leaf in your water pot and carry me inside. I want to trick these people." She said, "What happens if they find out? They have got a scale there, and if you don't like Mahi Ravana, it will show." He said, "All right, I like Mahi Ravana." "No, no, no. How can you like Mahi Ravana and Rama? It's not possible." Hanuman said, "Anyway, why don't you do it? I like a thrill, and I want to trick them." So he became very small and entered into a mango leaf. When you bring water for bathing, you put a mango leaf in it. She put mango leaves in there with Hanuman. And then very peacefully she was bringing it. The meter was there, and she was slowly coming, and she was shivering. Some demons were saying, "Hey! Why are you shivering? What is that you are bringing?" She said, "No, no. This is abhiseka water, we are going to kill Rama today." As soon as she came in front of the meter, it went right over the other side and there was no more numbers it could go to. They said, "Hey, stop! You are hating Mahi Ravana so much. You used to hate him before, but it was only thirty degrees. Now it's coming out of the meter." She said, "No, I have become friendly now, otherwise how has my brother let me out?" So then they said, "There must be someone inside the water!" And they looked in the water. Hanuman was there in the leaf. They couldn't see anything, so they concluded, "There is something wrong with this machine. You walk past, and let us check again." So she went back and then came past the machine again. "Boing!" and it broke. "Who is this who does not like Mahi Ravana?" they asked. Hanuman jumped out of the pot and said, "It is me!" and he became huge and took everyone and began to make a big mess, he couldn't wait to see Rama. He was smashing some people, crushing some people, biting some, walking on them, throwing a bunch and another bunch another way. He took a group and another group and smashed them against each other. In this way he finished them all. Then she said, "There are ten houses around Mahi Ravana's house. These are his great corporals and generals.
You must kill them." "No problem," Hanuman said. He went there and stood in the middle and put his tail slowly inside each house. First one house, where one general was sitting with his wife telling her, "You look like the moon." And she was saying, "You look like the sun." In the meantime the tail came and bound both of them, pulled them out of them house and started flapping them on the floor. In the same way he went to every house and smashed them all. All the houses were finished. Then the news reached Mahi Ravana. Mahi Ravana came out in front of Hanuman and said, "Hey! I will kill you!" And he got on his chariot. Hanuman flew up and fell on the chariot. He crushed the chariot. Mahi Ravana was smashed. Hanuman said, "Jaya Ramacandra Bhagavan ki jaya!" And then Mahi Ravana came up again. Hanuman gave him a big punch on the chest, making him unconscious. Hanuman said, "Jaya Ramacandra Bhagavan ki jaya!" Again he got up. Hanuman thought, "Every time I say Jaya he gets up. Next time I'm not going to say it." So he took Mahi Ravana in his hands and tore him to pieces, and he threw the pieces everywhere. He sat down, and they all joined together and Mahi Ravana got up. He used his special martial arts techniques. He locked Mahi Ravana, and got him in a hold so he couldn't breath. Then Mahi Ravana disappeared. Hanuman said, "No-one can get out of my locking system!" Then he looked around and he saw a silver mountain, a rock. Duratandi told him, "This is not a silver rock, this is Mahi Ravana. He can take any form." Hanuman sat on it and crushed it. Again Mahi Ravana came out, and he started running. This time he was so fast that Hanuman couldn't catch him. Hanuman went to Duratandi and said, "Now what? Where has he gone?" She said, "He is performing a yajna for killing you." Mahi Ravana went inside a cave and he was quickly performing some yajna, and from the yajna, a big brahma-rakshasa came. He was saying, "Who? Who? Whom should I eat?" Mahi Ravana said, "Hanuman, over there!" So he jumped up and came to Hanuman. Hanuman got ready to fight the bhuta, but Duratandi said, "Don't fight with the bhuta, it's a waste of time.
Go and spoil the yajna. Automatically the bhuta will die." Hanuman said, "Oh, that's good." So he went there and spoiled the yajna by passing urine on the fire. The yajna became contaminated, and the brahma-rakshasa disappeared. Again Mahi Ravana disappeared. Hanuman came back to Duratandi and said, "I am confused. What should I do?" Duratandi said, "Even if you crush him he won't die, because his life is in three places." She told a secret. So he came to the Kali temple and saw Ramacandra dressed up with turmeric powder, sindhu, flower garland. He was going to be sacrificed, so he had to look good. He came to Rama and said, "My Lord, You must help. I did everything that I know. This man is invincible." Ramacandra said, "No problem. At midnight he will kill Me. At that time, I will make some trick and I will shoot the arrow. At the same time, you must go and finish those lamps. I will get Laksmana to crush the diamond." Rama was the Supreme intelligence. So Laksmana got Duratandi to find out where the diamond was, and he reached that place and was waiting for midnight. The midnight was slowly coming. Hanuman was flying and flying. He was going very, very fast. Finally he landed there. He saw this cave, and he saw five entrances. They all connected inside, and there were five lamps burning. He came in there, and he blew one out. He came to the next, and he put that one out. He looked back, and the other one had again lighted up automatically. He put one off, and another lighted, back and forth. Then he said, "I will do everything at once." So he turned his head while blowing. They all went out, but all came on again. In the meantime the snakes had come out spitting poison. The poison was not doing anything to him, but they were coming and moving mystically, and Hanuman came out and said, "Oh, what am I going to do?" Again he thought of Vayu. Vayu came and said, "Hanuman, what's the problem now? You don't have much time, only three minutes left!" Hanuman said, "Well what can I do? This lamp goes out and another one starts. This lamp that lamp, back and forth.
I am confused." Vayu said, "Ahh! You forgot who your father is!" Hanuman said, "I didn't forget. You are my father." Vayu said, "You know that only because of me is any light burning?" And Vayu withdrew from there. As soon as Vayu withdrew from that cave, it became a vacuum. And at that point, they all went out at once. Immediately Hanuman remembered Brahma, and he prayed to him, "I want to use that benediction, that special benediction. I want to reach Mahipuri right now." Next moment he was in Mahipuri. At the same time Laksmana crushed the diamond. Just before that, Mahi Ravana had come and told Rama, "Pay obeisances! And then I will offer you to Kali!" Rama said, "I don't know how to pay obeisances. I forgot. I was in shock. Can you teach Me how to pay obeisances?" So Mahi Ravana said, "All right, I will show you. This is how you pay obeisances." As soon as he bent down, Rama took his arrow and shot him. All these things happened at the same time, crushing the diamond, putting the lights out, and Ramacandra's arrow went inside Mahi Ravana's chest. And then he started dying. When he started dying, everything began to cave in. The jewels became powerless, the roads were cracking, the buildings were crumbling. And then Hanuman came and said, "Rama and Laksmana, sit on my shoulder!" And he broke everything and flew off. He came back to Sri Lanka. And then the war started.
CHAPTER 14; RAVANA KILLED AND SITA RECOVERED
In the area of Mahipuri, Nila the engineer of the Vanara army reconstructed the city, and Mahi Ravana's nephew was established as the king. Now the war started. This war was different from how the Kuruksetra war was fought. Day and night the fighting was going on. Demons especially become more strong after sunset, and a lot of damage was done to the monkey army. Especially when Indrajit came to the battlefield, and when Kumbhakarna came to the battlefield, a lot of damage was done to the monkeys. Indrajit used a lot of illusory techniques. By becoming invisible he fought, and at one point he made Rama and Laksmana unconscious by using some special snake weapon. Then on the advice of one of the great doctors of the Vanara army and Vibhisana, Hanuman flew to the Himalayas and brought the Puspa-Puspa-Puspa-samjivani mountain. Puspa-samjivani means, "The flower of revitalisation."
Actually they told him to bring the Puspa-samjivani leaf. But the Puspa-samjivani leaf had some sparkle or shine. Hanuman arrived in the Himalayan region and went to that particular mountain. The rishis who were meditating on the mountain, for them this Puspa-samjivani leaf was very valuable, because if you just took one leaf you wouldn't have to eat for five years. No food, no thirst, no hunger, no sickness. It was very nice. They saw that Hanuman had come. They knew if anyone came there they only come for Puspa-samjivani. There was nothing else there, just Puspa-samjivani plant and rishis closing their eyes and meditating for thousands of years. They knew that there was some danger, so they used their mystic power and made all the leaves shine like Puspa-samjivani. Hanuman was looking. "Ah, this one! But that one is also shining." He saw the whole mountain was shining. Hanuman said, "Oh, now I have a problem. I don't know which one to take. I will take the whole mountain." So he put his hand under the mountain and he lifted it up. The rishis were alarmed. "What's going on?" He flew, and before Hanuman came with the mountain, Jambavan very cleverly used the monkey army to kick all the dead bodies of demons into the ocean. He cleaned the whole place. Only the monkey dead bodies were kept. Because otherwise, when Puspa-samjivani mountain comes, then everyone will get up.
They will be as before. So very cleverly Jambavan arranged that all the dead bodies of demons were kicked into the ocean, and some stones put on their head that they wouldn't come to the surface. Then the Puspa-samjivani mountain came, and all the monkeys got up. Now the demons were small and the Vanaras were more. Even when he was bringing the mountain, even before he had landed they all got up, the power of Puspa-samjivani was so much. The fight was going on and everyone had very powerful weapons. Indrajit means `the conqueror of Indra'. But he had a benediction that he would be killed only if while he is performing a sacrifice someone stops him and fights with him. Because Indrajit was very powerful, he was thinking, "Who would dare to stop me while I am performing sacrifice?" In between the war he disappeared and went to a very secret place to perform a sacrifice. But Vibhisana knew the place, and he brought Hanuman and Angada there, and they contaminated the sacrifice and pulled him out. Then there was a big fight, and finally Laksmana killed Indrajit. One by one everyone was killed, and only Ravana was left. The demigods helped a lot in the war, and Indra sent his chariot and his charioteer Matali there, which Ramacandra was using. He broke Ravana's chariot, killed his charioteer and his horses, broke the bow, broke his club and flag. And then he said, "All right Ravana, I will give you some time. You go today, and you come back tomorrow, with the good decision of giving Sita back to Me. If you do that, everyone who is dead will come back. You will get all your opulences. As if it has never happened, people will forget what they knew of you, and you will be known as a noble king.
I will go back to Ayodhya, and we will have a good friendship." Ravana felt this a great insult that he was not killed, so he went back to his palace. Then he remembered that Lord Siva once said to him, "When your life is in danger, you call me. I will save you." There is a vina known as Rudra-vina, Lord Siva's personal instrument. That was with Ravana, so he took that vina and started singing songs in praise of Lord Siva. Lord Siva is easily pleased, so he immediately came before Ravana and said, "Why did you call me?" Ravana said, "My life is in danger." Siva said, "How is your life in danger? You tell me." Ravana said, "I took the wife of the son of Dasaratha, and he came here with his army of monkeys, and they have killed everybody. Even Kumbhakarna, Indrajit, everyone is gone. I am the only one left. And that king insulted me by telling me, "You go. I won't kill you today. Come back tomorrow." So over and above everything, I am insulted. Please save my prestige and my life." Siva said, "Yes, I must save your life. I will save your life. Here, I am saving your life. Give Sita back." Ravana said, "No! Oh, the same thing again! You are cheating me! You promised me you would save my life, but you are not doing it." Siva said, "No, I am saving your life. Did I say that to save your life I would go and fight with someone? I have my own method of saving your life. Just take this small piece of advice: Give back Sita. Everything will be wonderful." Ravana said, "No, I expected that you would go and fight with Rama and finish Him." Siva said, "I don't mind. I can go and fight with Rama, but I will be finished." Ravana said, "No, I am not going to give back Sita." Siva said, "All right, then you will die. Who can protect you?" Then Ravana came the next day. When he came, Ramacandra was standing there holding His bow. Even to carry that bow was very difficult. It was much bigger than His body, and very heavy. He used to hold it like he was holding some grass. When Ravana came he saw Rama and he folded his hands. Vibhisana and Laksmana said, "Jaya! Finally, he is surrendering!" Then the next moment Ravana said, "What am I doing? No, I am here to fight with you."
Then Rama fired His arrow, and he finished Ravana. Then all of Ravana's queens came, and they were crying. Then Vibhisana and Hanuman came to Ramacandra, and they said, "So the war is over, and we are arranging for the cremation of Ravana. We are performing sraddha for all the ones who are dead. Please instruct us about bringing Sita." Ramacandra said, "Yes, you both go and tell Sita that Ravana is killed, and you bring her here." So they went there, and Sitadevi had already got all the news from Vibhisana's daughter. Hanuman told her, "Mother, you are being called by Ramacandra, so you must come." So she dressed in the same cloth in which she was taken away by Ravana, and which was hanging on the tree. She dressed herself up, and she came. When she came, Hanuman and Vibhisana came and said to Ramacandra, "Here is your wife, Sita." Ramacandra said, "Tell her that she can do anything she likes and go anywhere she likes. I have killed Ravana, and she has no fear now. She can go where she likes." Hanuman cried, and he was looking at Vibhisana saying, "What is this? Cross the ocean, build a bridge, kill the demons, bring a mountain, and then, `You go wherever you like.' Did He actually say this?" Vibhisana said, "Yes, he did. I am also confused." So then they went to Laksmana, and asked him, "What is this?" Laksmana said, "That's what I am also wondering. What is this?" So then they all came back to Rama, and Vibhisana was leading the party. "O Lord Ramacandra, can You please repeat what You have said?" Ramacandra said, "Didn't you hear Me? Now our work is done. You have killed the demons, so we will go back. You can tell this lady to do whatever she wants."
So then Hanuman came to Sita devi, and he was looking at her face. Sita said, "Did you hear what He said?" Hanuman said, "Yes, He said you can do whatever you like." Sita told Hanuman, "You tell this king, my husband, that in going anywhere I liked, I did not have to wait all this time. I could have gone anywhere I liked. I was only waiting for Him to come. Now why is He rejecting me?" Then she prayed to all the demigods, and they all appeared there. Even Janaka and Dasaratha came. They were all present, and they said, "Ramacandra, this is Your wife, Sita. This whole program You did was to get her back. Now You take her back." Ramacandra said, "No. I don't have to take her back." Dasaratha and Janaka came and said to Him, "No, no. This will be too hard for her. Please take her back." Ramacandra said, "How will I take her back? She is not My wife." And then everyone became confused. Brahma came there and said, "This is Your lila. You just take an avatar to finish the demons and protect the devotees. But You don't do too much lila, because we will get confused. Lila is all right, but not too much lila. So here is Your wife, just take her." Rama said, "She is not My wife." Brahma said, "Why?" "How can she be My wife? She stayed in Ravana's garden for so long, four months. I may take her as my wife, but when I go back to Ayodhya, what will I say to My citizens? They will say, "Rama, You went to the forest. How was everything?" "Everything was all right except that My wife stayed with Ravana for four months." What will they think? Will I be able to keep this lady on the throne as my queen? On the simhasana, the great seat of the Iksvaku dynasty, some woman who left her husband and stayed somewhere else for four months? They will complain to Me." Hanuman asked Ramacandra, "Then what are You supposed to do?" Rama said, "You ask Sita." So Hanuman came back with Sita and said, "You solve the problem." Sita said, "Ask Him.
If He wants I can go to the fire, and prove that I am pure." Vibhisana came and told Ramacandra, and Ramacandra said, "Yes, that's a good idea. Tell Laksmana to make a fire." So they made a fire and Hanuman was crying. He couldn't see Mother Sita would walk into the fire, after all that trouble. So he left that place. And Vibhisana also left that place. They couldn't tolerate. Laksmana was a thankless person all the time. He was always given the thankless jobs. So he went to Mother Sita and told her, "Please come, and go into the fire." Sitadevi climbed into the fire. She was sitting on the fire and the fire was glowing. Nothing happened to her. That's all there in Ramayana. But something did happen. What happened was that Agni came there and brought the original Sita. Sita was actually never in Sri Lanka. This was a big scandal. This scandal was arranged by Laksmana. When Marica got the arrow of Ramacandra in his heart, he shouted, "Oh Laksmana! Oh Sitadevi!" Sitadevi told Laksmana, "Your brother is in trouble! You must go and save Him!" Laksmana was smiling. Sita said, "What kind of a demoniac person are you? How can you smile and laugh when your brother is getting killed by the demons?" Laksmana said, "What problem is there? When people get a problem they chant Rama's name. How can He have problem? Anyone who is afraid of an enemy, they chant Rama's name and they get protected. How can He have any enemy? He is protecting everyone in this world. How can he have a problem?" Sitadevi said, "Now I know your plan! You always wanted to have me as your wife. Now that Rama will be dead you will be happy." Laksmana closed his ears.
"Oh no! What is this?" Then she said, "If not, then you must go now." So he said, "All right, I will go." But then he thought, "I'm not just going to leave like this." So he took his Agni astra, the astra of fire, and he drew a line in front of the ashrama. He said, "You be beyond this line. Don't cross this line." So then Ravana came as a sannyasi, and he was trying to first enter the house. When he came, he touched the line and the fire came, and he couldn't go in. Then he called, "Is there anyone in the house?" Sita devi came, and Ravana asked, "Whose house is this?" Sita said, "This is the son of Dasaratha's house. He is in exile. Nobody who comes to this house goes without getting something. So I wll give you something." Then she brought some fruits. Ravana said, "I don't enter houses. I am a naisthika sannyasa. You have to come outside and bring it to me." She said, "I have been told by my protectors not to cross this line." He said, "All right, I won't take. I'm going, and I'm angry." She said, "No, no, don't go angry." He said, "Yes, all these Dasaratha and Rama, they are all just misers. They don't give any charity. I'm going, and I'll tell everyone, `This is Rama'." So Sitadevi thought, "Oh, this is very bad. I have to protect the name of my husband." So she crossed the line. When she crossed the line, the fire came again and Agni took her to his palace. He produced a Sita who was illusory, and that was the Sita Ravana took. One may say, "If she is illusory then what is the whole problem with this scene?" No, even that Sita belongs to the Lord only. She's not supposed to be in Ravana's garden. But then Ramacandra had a vow that He only married one Laksmi in that incarnation. He was not going to take the other Laksmi. He told her, "You can go wherever you like." He was not cruel, he just told her what she is supposed to be told. But this happened in a very secret manner, not many people knew. At least in the Ramayana, it is not stated. In the Kurma Purana, the story is mentioned. Agni brought the original Sita and handed her over to Ramacandra.
Sri Rama Chandra Bhagavan ki Jaya, Sri Rama Vijayotsav ki Jaya, Sri Vijaya Dasami Mahotsav ki Jaya
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