Friday, October 22, 2010

PDE Ramayana: Kabandha

Reading Guide. As Rama and Lakshmana head south, they encounter another rakshasa who, like Viradha, is not exactly what he appears to be, and from him they learn valuable information to help them in their search for Sita.

Image: You can see an image of the headless rakshasa Kabandha below: he is one of the most truly weird-looking characters in the whole Ramayana. You can see more illustrations here: Kabandha.

Source. Indian Myth and Legend by Donald A. Mackenzie (1913). [200 words]

Rama and Jatayu | 39. Kabandha | Shabari

Thereafter the brethren went towards the south. On their way they met a black demon of monstrous size; his head was in the middle of his body; he had but one eye, and his teeth were numerous and long. Suddenly the misshapen demon stretched out his two great arms, and the brethren fought against the arms.

The demon cried, “Who are ye that dare to combat with me? I welcome ye because I am an hungered this day and long to feast on human flesh.”

Rama and Lakshmana fought on until they cleft both the great arms that were coiled around them, whereat the monster fell upon the ground. Said Rama, “We are Dasharatha's sons who are exiles in the jungle.”

Then the demon revealed that he was Kabandha and bade them burn his body, so that he might be bereft of his rakshasa form and nature; thereafter, he promised, he would inform them regarding Sita.

The brethren dug a pit and cremated the monster, and from the fire arose Kabandha, the gandharva, who had been placed under spells. He spake and said, “Ravana dwells in the island of Lanka; he is the King of Rakshasas. If thou wouldst fain overcome him, thou must seek the aid of the ape chief, Sugriva, King of the Vanars, who dwells on Rishyamukha Mountain.”

Rama and Jatayu | Kabandha | Shabari

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