The story of Śūrpaṇakhā; her approaching Khara, Dūṣaṇa and Triśirā for redress and their subsequent death at Śrī Rāma’s hands
lachimana ati lāghavaom sō nāka kāna binu kīnhi.
tākē kara rāvana kahaom manau cunautī dīnhi..17.. [3-17]
With great agility Lakṣmaṇa struck off her nose and ears, thereby inviting Rāvaṇa through her to a contest as it were.
nāka kāna binu bhai bikarārā. janu strava saila gairu kai dhārā..
khara dūṣana pahiṃ gai bilapātā. dhiga dhiga tava pauruṣa bala bhrātā.. [3-17-1]
tēhi pūchā saba kahēsi bujhāī. jātudhāna suni sēna banāī..
dhāē nisicara nikara barūthā. janu sapaccha kajjala giri jūthā.. [3-17-2]
nānā bāhana nānākārā. nānāyudha dhara ghōra apārā..
supanakhā āgēṃ kari līnī. asubha rūpa śruti nāsā hīnī.. [3-17-3]
asaguna amita hōhiṃ bhayakārī. ganahiṃ na mṛtyu bibasa saba jhārī..
garjahi tarjahiṃ gagana uḍaāhīṃ. dēkhi kaṭaku bhaṭa ati haraṣāhīṃ.. [3-17-4]
kōu kaha jiata dharahu dvau bhāī. dhari mārahu tiya lēhu chaḍaāī..
dhūri pūri nabha maṃḍala rahā. rāma bōlāi anuja sana kahā.. [3-17-5]
lai jānakihi jāhu giri kaṃdara. āvā nisicara kaṭaku bhayaṃkara..
rahēhu sajaga suni prabhu kai bānī. calē sahita śrī sara dhanu pānī.. [3-17-6]
dēkhi rāma ripudala cali āvā. bihasi kaṭhina kōdaṃḍa caḍhaāvā.. [3-17-7]
Without nose and ears she wore a hideous aspect and looked like a mountain flowing with torrents of red ochre. She went sobbing to Khara and Dūṣaṇa: “Fie, fie upon your manhood and strength, brothers!” Questioned by them she told them everything in detail; hearing her report the demon chiefs gathered an army. Swarming multitudes of demons of diverse shapes rushed forth like hosts of winged mountains of collyrium on vehicles of various kinds. They were infinite in number and were armed with terrible weapons of various kinds. They placed at their head Śūrpaṇakhā shorn of her ears and nose and thus presenting an inauspicious sight. Numberless ill-omens of a fearful nature occured to them; but the host heeded them not, doomed as they all were to death. They roared and bullied and sprang in the air; and the champions were filled with excessive joy to see the army. Said one, “Capture the two brothers alive and having captured them kill them and carry off the woman.” The vault of heaven was overhung with the dust raised by them. (Seeing this) Śrī Rāma called His younger brother (Lakṣmaṇa) and said,” “Take Janaka’s Daughter to some mountain-cave; a terrible array of demons has come. Therefore, remain on your guard.” Obedient to his lord’s command he withdrew (to a safe retreat) with Sītā, bow and arrow in hand. When Śrī Rāma saw that the hostile force had advanced, He smiled as He strung His formidable bow
kōdaṃḍa kaṭhina caḍhaāi sira jaṭa jūṭa bāomdhata sōha kyōṃ.
marakata sayala para larata dāmini kōṭi sōṃ juga bhujaga jyōṃ..
kaṭi kasi niṣaṃga bisāla bhuja gahi cāpa bisikha sudhāri kai..
citavata manahu mṛgarāja prabhu gajarāja ghaṭā nihāri kai..
As He coiled His matted locks into a tuft on His head after stringing His formidable bow, it seemed as if a pair of snakes were engaged in a conflict with countless streaks of lightning on a mountain of emerald. Having girded up His quiver at His waist, and clasping the bow with His long arms and putting His arrows in order, He looked at the enemy even as a lion (the king of the beasts) would glare at a herd of large elephants.
āi gaē bagamēla dharahu dharahu dhāvata subhaṭa.
jathā bilōki akēla bāla rabihi ghērata danuja..18.. [3-17-18]
Valiant champions came rushing with all speed shouting “Seize him, seize him!” even as the demons* close round upon the rising sun finding it all alone
- * It is mentioned in our scriptures that a special class of demons known by the name of ‘Mandehas’ close round upon the rising sun, weapons in hand, every morning and are driven away by the drops of water thrown into the air by way of ‘Arghya’ in course of the ‘Sandhyā’ prayer. Thus it is all the more necessary that every member of the twice-born classes should perform his Sandhyā before sunrise every morning without fail.
prabhu bilōki sara sakahiṃ na ḍārī. thakita bhaī rajanīcara dhārī..
saciva bōli bōlē khara dūṣana. yaha kōu nṛpabālaka nara bhūṣana.. [3-17-1]
nāga asura sura nara muni jētē. dēkhē jitē hatē hama kētē..
hama bhari janma sunahu saba bhāī. dēkhī nahiṃ asi suṃdaratāī.. [3-17-2]
jadyapi bhaginī kīnha kurūpā. badha lāyaka nahiṃ puruṣa anūpā..
dēhu turata nija nāri durāī. jīata bhavana jāhu dvau bhāī.. [3-17-3]
mōra kahā tumha tāhi sunāvahu. tāsu bacana suni ātura āvahu..
dūtanha kahā rāma sana jāī. sunata rāma bōlē musakāī.. [3-17-4]
hama chatrī mṛgayā bana karahīṃ. tumha sē khala mṛga khaujata phirahīṃ..
ripu balavaṃta dēkhi nahiṃ ḍarahīṃ. ēka bāra kālahu sana larahīṃ.. [3-17-5]
jadyapi manuja danuja kula ghālaka. muni pālaka khala sālaka bālaka..
jauṃ na hōi bala ghara phiri jāhū. samara bimukha maiṃ hatau na kāhū.. [3-17-6]
rana caḍhai karia kapaṭa caturāī. ripu para kṛpā parama kadarāī..
dūtanha jāi turata saba kahēū. suni khara dūṣana ura ati dahēū.. [3-17-7]
Even as they beheld the Lord the invading warriors could not discharge their arrows; the whole demon host became powerless. Khara and Dūṣaṇa summoned their ministers and said, “This prince, whoever he may be, is an ornament of the human race. Of all the Nāgas, demons, gods, human beings and sages that exist (in this universe) we have seen, vanquished or slain many. But during our whole life, listen to us, our brethren all, we have never beheld such beauty. Even though he has disfigured our sister, he does not deserve death, peerless as he is among men. ‘Surrender to us at once the woman you have put in hiding somewhere and return home with your life, both you and your brother.’ Deliver this message of mine to him and return immediately with his reply.” The heralds went to Śrī Rāma and delivered the message to Him, in reply to which Śrī Rāma smilingly said, “We are Kṣatriyas by birth and are given to hunting in the woods; wretches like you are the game that we are tracking. We are never dismayed at the sight of a mighty foe and would give battle to Death himself if he ever appeared before us. Though human beings, we are the exterminators of the race of demons and, though youthful in appearance, we are the protectors of the hermits and the torment of the wicked. If you have no strength to fight, you had better return home; I will never kill an enemy who has turned his back upon the field of battle. When you have come up to fight, it would be the height of weakness to play wily pranks or to show compassion to your enemy.” The heralds returned forthwith and repeated all that they had been told. The heart of Khara and Dūṣaṇa was on fire when they heard it.
ura dahēu kahēu ki dharahu dhāē bikaṭa bhaṭa rajanīcarā.
sara cāpa tōmara sakti sūla kṛpāna parigha parasu dharā..
prabhu kīnha dhanuṣa ṭakōra prathama kaṭhōra ghōra bhayāvahā.
bhaē badhira byākula jātudhāna na gyāna tēhi avasara rahā..
Their heart was on fire and they exclaimed, “Capture him,” hearing which fierce demon champions rushed forth, all armed with bows and arrows, steel clubs, pikes, spears, scimitars, maces and axes. First of all the Lord gave His bow a twang-shrill, terrific and fearful-which deafened the ears of and dismayed the demons, who had no sense left in them
sāvadhāna hōi dhāē jāni sabala ārāti.
lāgē baraṣana rāma para astra sastra bahu bhāomti..19ka.. [3-19(A)]
tinha kē āyudha tila sama kari kāṭē raghubīra.
tāni sarāsana śravana lagi puni chāomḍaē nija tīra..19kha.. [3-19(B)]
Having learnt that they were confronting a powerful enemy, the demon warriors now rushed with caution and began to hurl missiles and weapons of various kinds on Śrī Rāma. The Hero of Raghu’s line, however, tore them into pieces as small as sesamum seeds and then drawing the bow-string to His ear let fly His own arrows.
taba calē jāna babāna karāla. phuṃkarata janu bahu byāla..
kōpēu samara śrīrāma. calē bisikha nisita nikāma.. [3-19(B)-1]
avalōki kharatara tīra. muri calē nisicara bīra..
bhaē kruddha tīniu bhāi. jō bhāgi rana tē jāi.. [3-19(B)-2]
tēhi badhaba hama nija pāni. phirē marana mana mahu ṭhāni..
āyudha anēka prakāra. sanamukha tē karahiṃ prahāra.. [3-19(B)-3]
ripu parama kōpē jāni. prabhu dhanuṣa sara saṃdhāni..
chāomḍaē bipula nārāca. lagē kaṭana bikaṭa pisāca.. [3-19(B)-4]
ura sīsa bhuja kara carana. jahaom tahaom lagē mahi parana..
cikkarata lāgata bāna. dhara parata kudhara samāna.. [3-19(B)-5]
bhaṭa kaṭata tana sata khaṃḍa. puni uṭhata kari pāṣaṃḍa..
nabha uḍata bahu bhuja muṃḍa. binu mauli dhāvata ruṃḍa.. [3-19(B)-6]
khaga kaṃka kāka sṛgāla. kaṭakaṭahiṃ kaṭhina karāla.. [3-19(B)-7]
kaṭakaṭahiṃ jaṃbuka bhūta prēta pisāca kharpara saṃcahīṃ.
bētāla bīra kapāla tāla bajāi jōgini naṃcahīṃ..
raghubīra bāna pracaṃḍa khaṃḍahiṃ bhaṭanha kē ura bhuja sirā.
jahaom tahaom parahiṃ uṭhi larahiṃ dhara dharu dharu karahiṃ bhayakara girā.. [3-19(B)-1]
aṃtāvarīṃ gahi uḍata gīdha pisāca kara gahi dhāvahīṃ..
saṃgrāma pura bāsī manahu bahu bāla guḍaī uḍaāvahīṃ..
mārē pachārē ura bidārē bipula bhaṭa kahaomrata parē.
avalōki nija dala bikala bhaṭa tisirādi khara dūṣana phirē.. [3-19(B)-2]
sara sakti tōmara parasu sūla kṛpāna ēkahi bārahīṃ.
kari kōpa śrīraghubīra para aganita nisācara ḍārahīṃ..
prabhu nimiṣa mahu ripu sara nivāri pacāri ḍārē sāyakā.
dasa dasa bisikha ura mājha mārē sakala nisicara nāyakā.. [3-19(B)-3]
mahi parata uṭhi bhaṭa bhirata marata na karata māyā ati ghanī.
sura ḍarata caudaha sahasa prēta bilōki ēka avadha dhanī..
sura muni sabhaya prabhu dēkhi māyānātha ati kautuka kar yō.
dēkhahi parasapara rāma kari saṃgrāma ripudala lari mar yō.. [3-19(B)-4]
Then the terrible arrows sped forth, hissing like so many serpents. Śrī Rāma got infuriated in battle and arrows, exceedingly sharp, flew from His bow. The demon warriors turned and fled when they found the arrows so very keen . The three brothers (Khara, Dūṣaṇa and Triśirā) now flew into rage: “Whoever flees from the battle-field will be killed by us with our own hands.” At this the warriors turned back, fully resolved to die, and made a frontal attack with weapons of every description. Perceiving that the enemy was exceedingly furious, the Lord fitted arrows to His bow and discharged many a shaft of the ‘Nārāca’ type with the result that frightful fields began to be mowed down. Trunks, heads, arms, hands and feet began to drop to the ground here, there and everywhere. Pierced by shafts, they yelled and their trunks fell like mountains. The bodies of the warriors were torn into a hundred pieces and resorting to deceptive methods they stood up again. A number of arms and heads flew through the air and headless trunks ran to and fro. Birds like kites and crows and jackals wrangled in a cruel and awful way. Jackals wrangled; ghosts, spirits and fiends filled the bowls of skulls with blood: devils clashed the heads of slain warriors like cymbals and the Yoginīs* danced. Śrī Rāma’s fierce arrows tore to pieces the leaders’ breast, arms and heads; their bodies fell on every side but stood up again to fight with terrible cries of “Seize, capture!” Vultures flew away with the end of entrails in their claws, while goblins scampered with the other end held in their hands; one might fancy numberless children of the town of the battle-field were flying kites. A large number of champions, that had been smitten or knocked down or whose breast had been torn, lay moaning. Finding their army in distress leaders like Triśirā, Khara and Dūṣaṇa turned towards Śrī Rāma. Countless demons hurled furiously against the Hero of Raghu’s line, arrows, spears, iron clubs, axes, javelins and daggers all at once. In the twinkling of an eye the Lord warded off the enemy’s shafts and sent forth His own arrows, planting ten shafts in the breast of each champion of the demon host. The leaders fell to the ground but rose again and joined in the fray. Yet they would not die and played very many tricks. The gods trembled with fear when they saw that the demons numbered fourteen thousand, while the Lord of Ayodhyā was all alone. Finding the gods and sages alarmed, the Lord, who is the Controller of Māyā (Cosmic Illusion), wrought a great miracle. The demons saw one another in the form of Śrī Rāma, so that the enemy’s warriors fought among themselves and perished.
- * A class of female attendants on Lord Śiva or Goddess Durgā, who are generally believed to be sixty-four in number.
rāma rāma kahi tanu tajahiṃ pāvahiṃ pada nirbāna.
kari upāya ripu mārē chana mahu kṛpānidhāna..20ka.. [3-20(A)]
haraṣita baraṣahiṃ sumana sura bājahiṃ gagana nisāna.
astuti kari kari saba calē sōbhita bibidha bimāna..20kha.. [3-20(B)]
They quitted their body crying “Rāma! Rāma!!” and thereby attained the state of eternal bliss. Falling back upon this device the Ocean of Mercy killed the enemy in an instant. The gods in their exultation rained down flowers and kettle-drums sounded in the heavens. And hymning their praises one after another they all left, shining in their cars of various patterns.
jaba raghunātha samara ripu jītē. sura nara muni saba kē bhaya bītē..
taba lachimana sītahi lai āē. prabhu pada parata haraṣi ura lāē. [3-20(B)-1]
sītā citava syāma mṛdu gātā. parama prēma lōcana na aghātā..
paṃcavaṭīṃ basi śrīraghunāyaka. karata carita sura muni sukhadāyaka.. [3-20(B)-2]
dhuāom dēkhi kharadūṣana kērā. jāi supanakhāom rāvana prērā..
bōli bacana krōdha kari bhārī. dēsa kōsa kai surati bisārī.. [3-20(B)-3]
karasi pāna sōvasi dinu rātī. sudhi nahiṃ tava sira para ārātī..
rāja nīti binu dhana binu dharmā. harihi samarpē binu satakarmā.. [3-20(B)-4]
bidyā binu bibēka upajāēom. śrama phala paḍhaē kiēom aru pāēom..
saṃga tē jatī kumaṃtra tē rājā. māna tē gyāna pāna tēṃ lājā.. [3-20(B)-5]
prīti pranaya binu mada tē gunī. nāsahi bēgi nīti asa sunī.. [3-20(B)-6]
When the Lord of Raghus had vanquished the foe in battle, the gods, human beings and sages were all rid of fear. Then Lakṣmaṇa brought Sītā back; and as he fell at His feet the Lord joyously clasped him to His bosom. Sītā fixed Her gaze on His swarthy and delicate form with utmost affection; but Her eyes knew no satiety. Thus dwelling at Pañcavaṭī the blessed Lord of Raghus performed deeds that delighted gods and sages alike. Perceiving the destruction of Khara and Dūṣaṇa, Śūrpaṇakhā approached Rāvaṇa and instigated him (against Śrī Rāma). In great fury she rated him in the following words: “Discarding all thought of your realm and exchequer you drink and sleep day and night and take no heed of the enemy, who is now at your very door. Sovereignty without political insight, wealth divorced from virtue, noble deeds that have not been offered to Śrī Hari (God) and learning which does not beget wisdom is nothing but fruitless labour to the man who has gained such kingdom or wealth, to the doer of the noble acts and to the student respectively. A recluse is quickly undone by attachment, a king by evil counsel, wisdom by conceit, modesty by drinking, friendship by want of love, and man of merit by vanity: such is the maxim I have heard.