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Kumbhkarna
by Dr. CS Shah

The bridge was completed and one by one all of them reached near the shore of Lanka. Ravana's spies informed him about the approaching army of Rama, but the proud Ravana did not attach any significance and importance to this. Vibhishana, on the other hand, was quick to grab the opportunity and joined Rama in his noble mission.

Rama Tries To Settle The Issue With Peace

Angad was selected to represent Rama to give diplomacy a chance. Hence as a messenger/ambassador of Rama Angad reached the court of Ravana. He explained that Rama had sent him to seek release of Sita. Ravana should heed this last appeal of Rama so that the war could be averted. But no. Ravana did not accept the peace proposal. When he had such a great army, when he was immortal by the boon of the God, when he had all the super powers and instruments of war Ravana maintained that it was futile and immature of Rama to think of victory. Thus he took pity on Angad and his friends that they had come to Lanka to get killed.

Scornfully he also told Angad go back peacefully and forget about Sita. He would not attack the retreating army of Rama. Thus the talks failed. the war was sure to follow.

Angad returned to the camp and briefed Rama and others about the adamant attitude of Ravana not to free Sita. Rama, Laxmana, Hanuman, Sugreeva, and Vibhishana held a closed door meeting to chalk out their final strategy. Accordingly, Angad led one team of his brave soldiers and attacked the Lankan guards. After a brief fight, the guards were defeated and Angad and company entered the border of Lanka. Rama and others followed.

The news was received with mild concern by Ravana who sent more number of troops to attack the advancing men of Rama. Hanuman and his men defeated them too. Vibhishana was quick to guide Rama through the secret inroads. This disturbed Ravana and he decided to take the things more seriously. He therefore sent for Kumbhakarna, his brother with immense powers, to come to the court for urgent meeting with him. Ravana was sure that Kumbhakarna alone was powerful enough to defeat Rama and his army of 'monkeys'.

Story of Kumbhakarna

This Kumbhakarna used to remain awake for six months and sleep for next six months! As he was preparing to go to his long spell of sleep, the message of Ravana was delivered to him. Kumbhakarna was in no mood to fight. He also thought that Ravana was in wrong in inviting this unnecessary war due to his useless insistence to marry Sita. He accordingly advised Ravana to release Sita and put an end to this avoidable conflict.

However, he was a loyal and patriotic Rakshasa. He was proud of his ancestors and glory of the demon rule and prosperity of Lanka. Hence when Ravana appealed in the name of glory of their forefathers, in the name and honour of their clan and dynasty, Kumbhakarna agreed to terminate Rama for ever. Thus full of enthusiasm and well prepared for the ensuing battle, he led his army to the battle ground.

A fierce fight raged between the two armies. Many monkeys were killed so also many Rakshasas. Even Angad and Sugreeva were on the defensive. Hanuman was helpless. Therefore, Rama took charge of the front himself. Kumbhakarna was adept in taking various illusory forms to confuse his enemy. It was difficult to attack his true body! as many Kumbhakarnas used to appear in front. All the missiles and arrows eluded him.

Moreover, Kumbhakarna could create 'rain of fire' engulfing the enemy. This caused confusion and chaos amongst Rama's army. To this, Rama replied by pouring rain of water to put off the fire. Kumbhakarna poured 'rain of stones', and Rama countered by appropiate protective cover. The battle went on for quite some time. At last Rama attacked the demon with his most powerful arrow fortified with deadly divine missile. This hit the mighty Kumbhakarna at his vital centre that led to his downfall.

On the death-bed Kumbhakarna took the name of Rama and thus he was liberated from his base instincts and tendencies.  

12-Mar-2011
 
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