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A gist of epic Ramayana-Part XIV
Ahiravan and Ravana in battle field fighting.
Ahiravana's plot and Ravana's war with Rama.
Ravana was really devastated when he lost his dear son as well as Kumbakarna in the battle. He was brooding over the incidences. Meanwhile an aged adviser of Ravana told him that he need not get anxiety. The great "Ahiravana" a son of Ravana is still alive. He resides in the nether regions of earth. Ravana summoned him and they thought over a plan. It was to catch hold of Rama and Lakshmana and to give them as sacrifice to a fearful deity. Vibishana caught smell of the wicked plot. He commissioned Hanuman to protect Rama and Lakshmana from Ahiravana's stratagems. Hanuman constructed a thick fortress with his tail elongated for this specific purpose. Rama and Lakshmana were inside and around them the thick fortress was wound layer over layer by the tail of Hanuman. Hanuman guarded the entrance himself. Even a fly can not enter without the knowledge of Hanuman.
Ahiravana was clever. He changed his form as Vibhishana and sought to enter the fortress. Hanuman was astonished. He enquired Ahiravana in the form of Vibhishana why he want to meet Rama at this stage. Vibhishana told him an acceptable reason. He was let inside. Soon Ahiramana was on his game plan. He managed to dig a tunnel so deep with his magic power and took Rama and Lakshmana who were asleep and brought them to this habitat. There they were tied with many ropes so that they won't move even a finger. Now the real Vibhishana came to the entrance of the fortress. Hanuman was astonished. You have gone inside just now. How you are here again? Vkibhishana told him that this is his first visit to the fortress. Sensing some mishap, they went inside and they found a tunnel which led to the habitat of Ahiravana. It was the time for the sacrifice of Rama and Lakshmana to the deity. Hanuman assumed a small form and entered into the garland which will be placed around the neck. After garlanding, the sacrifice has to commence. Exactly at the same time, Hanuman assumed a huge form and thwarted the sacrifice and killed Ahiravana! Thus he saved the life of Rama and Lakshmana. He brought them safely to the battle field.
Ravana sent some more demon princes who met the same fate as Kumbakarna. Finally Ravana himself was preparing to enter the battle. He had ten heads. He got a boon, that each time a head is cut, it will again come and join on the neck. None can kill him except a human being as per the boon he got from Brahma. Hence Rama assumed the role of mere human being. The battle was fierce. Rama engaged him constantly with the shower of arrows on him but Ravana could equally thwart them by sending opposing weapons. After a day long battle, Rama found that every time, a head is cut by an arrow, the same get attached to his neck at once. Ravana used many magic spells. He used to vanish in the cloud, whenever a fierce arrow comes to attack him. Finally Rama shot "Agni asthram", the fire missile which illumined the battle field. Ravana could be spotted easily. He lost his head gear, and the protective armor, the chariot etc. At the end of evening, Ravana was standing alone without any aid. Rama pitied him and told him to return the next day!Ravana, the mighty hero was crest fallen. No one has dared to give him time in the battle field so far. He vanquished his enemies thrice. He returned walking all the way without chariot etc.,
Mandhothari, the pious and chaste wife of the demon Ramana could not bear the ignominy, her husband underwent at the battle field. He always road back to his kingdom with victory only. This is the first time, the crest fallen demon king Ravana returned to his palace. Already due to the death of Indrajit and others, the palace lost all its beauty and illumination. It was just like a dark cave resembling the conscious of Ravana. Mandothari has advised him several times to return Sita to Rama and to seek pardon for the heinous act. But Ravana is not the one who listens to such sage advice. He was basking on his mighty kingdom and the retinue he had in the form of demons. But none came to his help at this precarious time since all of them were killed in the battle.
Ravana was a devotee of Lord Shiva and he was a best musician playing on stringed instruments like the "Veena". His proficiency in Veda and Sastras can never be questioned. His Kingdom was always thriving on prosperity. In fact, he has inherited the wealth of Kubera, the lord of Wealth. Hence naturally he was proud and egoist. But his one sin was coveting other's wife. That brought the downfall of his mighty and prosperous kingdom. Rest in next part.