Aranya Kand 2 - Khara and Dushana Attack Shriram
The rakshasa Khara was furious to see his sister Surpanakha without ears and nose. When he found out what happened, he instructed fourteen of his powerful demons to go and kill Rama, Lakshmana, and Sita.
The rakshasas attacked Rama, throwing spears at him. Fixing fourteen arrows to his bow, he released them, destroyed all the spears, and killed the rakshasas. When Khara came to know of this, he set out to kill Rama with an army of fourteen thousand rakshasas. Seeing them come, Rama asked Lakshmana to take Sita to a nearby cave to protect her.
Rama then picked up his bow and shot blazing arrows at the rakshasas. He destroyed all their weapons and slaughtered them. Khara’s lieutenant Dushana charged at Rama while his soldiers flung rocks and trees. Rama effortlessly destroyed all that was hurled at him.
Dushana then charged at Rama with a club. Rama used sharp arrows to cut off Dushana’s hands and kill him. Rama then killed three other powerful rakshasas Mahakalpa, Sthulaksha, and Pramathi. Soon, Rama had killed all the rakshasas who had arrived to battle him. An angry Khara then attacked Rama.
Khara’s commander, Trishara asked him for a chance to kill Rama. Trishara attacked so strongly that Rama was hit on his forehead. Rama then killed the horses of Trishara’s chariot and his charioteer. Striking arrows at his chest, Rama killed the demon Trishara.
Khara and Rama then fought furiously. Their shower of arrows was so dense that the sky seemed to be blocked. Khara broke Rama’s bow and struck him all over with arrows. An angry Rama then took Vishnu’s bow. Fixing golden-feathered arrows to the bow, he brought down Khara’s flag. Rama then shot a volley of arrows, and killed Khara’s charioteer, his horses, and destroyed his bow.
Khara then charged at Rama with a club in his hand. He flung the club, but Rama effortlessly destroyed it. Khara then threw a tree at Rama, who broke it into pieces. Rama then shot a thousand arrows at Khara. A bleeding Khara tottered and desperately tried to attack Rama. Then using the weapon of Indra, Rama struck Khara on his chest and killed him.
Celestials and sages from heaven appeared and praised Rama’s valour. Rama returned to his hermitage with Lakshmana, who brought Sita from the cave. Shurpanakha was upset seeing how Rama had killed Khara. She left for Lanka to meet her brother, the demon king Ravana.
The ten-headed mighty Ravana was seated in his court when Shurpanakha arrived. She began to criticise Ravana for not knowing what was happening and how Rama killed his brother along with thousands of rakshasas. An angry Ravana then asked her about Rama. Shurpanakha described Rama and then told him about Sita. She told Ravana to kill Rama and Lakshmana and then take Sita as his wife.
Mounting his golden chariot, Ravana went in the direction of Dandakaranya. He then met the rakshasa Maricha, who was leading the life of a sage. Ravana approached Maricha and told him of his plan. He asked Maricha to turn into a golden deer and lure Rama and Lakshmana. When Maricha diverted the brothers, Ravana would abduct Sita and fulfil his desire.
Ravana was surprised when Maricha refused to co-operate. He told Ravana about Rama’s greatness and how he had powerful weapons. Maricha told Ravana how Rama had struck him with his arrows that threw him into the ocean. He then turned into a fearsome animal and had attacked Rama, but barely escaped with his life.
Since then, Maricha had become an ascetic and was leading a peaceful life since he was scared of Rama. He advised Ravana not to take on Rama else he would lose his life.
…. to be continued