Friday, March 26, 2010

PDE Ramayana: Kumbhakarna

Reading Guide. One of Ravana's greatest warriors is his brother, Kumbhakarna. First, though, they have to wake Kumbhakarna and satisfy his enormous appetite!

Image: The painting does a wonderful job of giving you a sense of scale. Kumbhakarna was BIG.

Source. Indian Myth and Legend by Donald A. Mackenzie (1913). [300 words]

Indrajit | 64. Kumbhakarna | The Mountain

The rakshasas were in desperate straits and bethought them to awaken Kumbhakarna, the mightiest of all the demons. In former days he had terrorized the Universe; he continually devoured human beings, and had defeated Indra even, but Brahma intervened and decreed that he would sleep for six months and then awaken for one day only. Each time he awoke he devoured a great meal, after which he was again overpowered by slumber.

Thousands of men danced and shouted and blew trumpets beside the great sleeper, but he could not be wakened; elephants were driven over his body, yet he never moved; then beautiful women came and caressed him, and he suddenly opened his eyes and roared like to the sea. His eyes were red with anger, and he cried, “Why have I been awakened before my time?”

The rakshasas informed Kumbhakarna of the army which surrounded the city, and they brought him much food; greedily he swallowed swine and deer and many human beings and drank rivers of wine. Refreshed, but not yet satisfied, he arose and said, “Where are the apes so that I may devour them?”

He mounted his chariot and went forth to battle. The apes trembled to behold him and fled panic-stricken. Sugriva rallied them quickly, and then they began to fling trees and boulders, but these were all splintered to pieces on the limbs of the giant. He defeated Hanuman, and seized Sugriva and carried him off in his chariot. Thousands of apes were devoured by the mighty rakshasa.

At length Kumbhakarna went against Rama and a fierce conflict ensued, but in the end Rama discharged flaming arrows and severed his head from his body. The monster staggered backward and fell into the ocean, and great billows arose and tossed angrily in the midst of the swollen deep.

Indrajit | Kumbhakarna | The Mountain

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