Reading Guide. As promised, Khara, having been driven back by Rama once already, now mounts another attack.
Image: In the illustration below, the rakshasa general Khara looks decidedly un-human with his curving horns and strange three-clawed feet.
Source. Indian Myth and Legend by Donald A. Mackenzie (1913). [200 words]
Evil were the omens as the army marched to battle. Jackals howled and birds screamed at dawn; the sky was blood-red, and Rahu endeavored to swallow the sun and caused an awesome eclipse: a headless horror appeared in mid air.
The arrows of Rama emitted smoke, and he said to Lakshmana, “Hasten with Sita to a secret cave in the mountains and protect her there. I will battle with the demons alone.”
Lakshmana did as his brother commanded. Then Rama girt on his glowing armor and, armed with a celestial bow and many arrows, he awaited the coming of his enemies. When the rakshasas appeared, they quailed before him because he appeared like to Yama at a Yuga end, but Khara drove on in his chariot, urging his followers to attack; they followed him roaring like a tempest, and they appeared like to black tremendous clouds rushing towards the rising sun.
Thousands of weapons were showered against Rama, who began to discharge flaming arrows which swept among the rakshasas like fire in a sun-dried forest, so that many were mangled and slain. Still Khara and his brother continued to attack, but Rama seized a great celestial weapon and slew Dushana and scattered the demon army in flight.
Khara sought to avenge his brother's death, but Rama drew his bow and shot a blazing arrow which consumed him instantly. So was the battle won, and Sita came forth from the cave and embraced her heroic husband and kissed him.