Bhagavadgita Pages, Chapters 1 to 18

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Hindu stories

Kumbakarna, the sleeping giant and his ravenous appetite

Kumbakarna:  It was  play time for this Raksasa to harass and taunt men and gods.  The gods and men supplicated to Brahma to bring his power to bear on him.  Brahma cast a curse on Kumbhakarna for him to sleep like a hibernating bear for six months at a time and wake up one day only to guttle and  go back to sleep for another six months.  His cast-iron stomach was a bottomless pit and a black hole. Guess where he slept. You guessed it right. He slept in an underground cavern like a hibernating bear. Kumbakarna, the brother of Ravana and Vibhishana, was known for his fressing forays on delicacies.

The Glutton Extraordinaire known for his indiscriminate crapulousness was woken up for war. 

Ravana, his brother,  had a humiliating defeat at the hands of Rama, the day before.  Ravana abducted  and was holding Rama's wife, Sita - the paragon of virtue.   Ravana sent  raksasas to wake Kumbakarna up and get him ready for the battle. The raksasas had a hard time opening the huge and heavy gates at the entrance of the cavern. They could hear him snore from afar and as they neared him, they were blown off their feet by gales from his thunderous breathing. This pot-bellied and pot-eared  raksasa was humongous.  The cavern walls were studded with gems of all kinds.  The raksasa's underlings had to figure out a way to wake him up without annoying him, because any annoyance would prove fatal to the toadies. Since he was a Glutton Extraordinaire, they hit upon the idea of waking him up with aroma of his favorite foods.  They piled up carcasses of antelopes, boars, and buffaloes around him.  They brought in a gargantuan pail of blood which he used to guzzle down in one gulp.  Splashes of perfumes were slapped on him; aromatic Sandalwood paste was smeared on him. The raksasas made all kinds of noises and literally ran over his body. But he won't stir.  They brought in a thousand elephants and made them run over him. He yawned, he stretched, he stirred, and he opened his eyes. His yawning mouth was like a deep cavern. As he stretched and stirred, the elephants fell off his body.  His eyes were blazing as he opened them.

The Gargantuan Raksasa / demon  goes to war

Ravana dispatched him to kill Rama and his simian army. Vibhishana, Ravana's and Kumbakarna's brother joined  Rama's camp for moral reasons.  Vibhishana gave Rama minute details of Kumbakarna's prowess.  Kumbakarna had this innate ability to grow or shrink to any size.  He grew to a gargantuan size. Kumbakarna, fitted with protective gear, left for battle with a pike.  He moved like a mountain.  The monkeys were in a panic. They screeched, screamed and scattered in all directions.   Rama, on Vibhishana's suggestion, assuaged their fears by saying that the gargantuan Raksasa was a thingamajig and not a living being; that put the monkeys at ease.  The monkeys threw twigs, rocks, and whatever that they laid their hands on. Nothing deterred Kumbakarna, who scooped thousands of monkeys in one swoop (of his hand) and smashed them to the ground. As the titan moved, the earth and the mountains shook.  He stuffed the monkeys into his mouth and gormandized them.  Scared, beaten, mauled, and bleeding,  the monkeys (not yet eaten for breakfast) scattered in all directions.  Even Hanuman, the monkey god,  was beaten down by his pike. Sugriva, the monkey king, hurled a  huge rough rock on  Kumbakarna's chest. That crag fell apart in pieces. The demon grew red with anger and threw the pike on Sugriva, which Hanuman caught and broke into pieces between his legs. The demon became angrier, tore and threw a huge piece of mountain peak on Sugriva, who fell unconscious.  Kumbakarna picked him up - as if he was a ragged doll  -and carried him under his arm.

Sugriva, the monkey king mutilates the giant

Kumbakarna went back to his city, where people showered him with flowers and scented water. The water woke up Sugriva, who immediately in one swift body motion, sank his teeth, bit off his nose and tore both his ears off with his hands and nails. Kumbakarna dropped Sugriva in a fit of pain and gave a bloodcurdling roar.  Sugriva jumped on his feet and scooted back to his friends.

Rama uses celestial weapons and kills Kumbakarna

Kumbakarna returned to the battlefield with a mace and bandages on his avulsed nose and ears.  Lakshmana, brother of Rama, challenged him and sent scores of flaming arrows in a continuous stream at Kumbakarna, who laughed and said that he would fight only with Rama to destroy him.  Rama having heard this, came down raining arrows on Kumbakarna's mace and body. His body, pierced by the arrows, looked like a humongous porcupine  and rivers of blood ran down his gargantuan body.  He ran hither and thither in excruciating pain; he smashed friend and foe alike under his feet.  Thousands of  monkeys, seeing a chance to bring him down, clambered on him, but the lumbering and yet nimble giant shook them off like beads of perspiration. Rama, having seen this, decided that it was time to bring the giant down, once for all.  He shot  arrows at lightening speed only to be brought down by Kumbakarna's club.  Then Rama started using his celestial weapons.  The celestial arrow, infused with the force of wind god, tore Kumbakarna's one arm holding the club.  The demon's severed arm and the club came crashing down killing a thousand monkeys and his fellow demons.  His thunderous roar shook the sky, shattered the mountains and dissipated the clouds. He yanked a living tree and came rushing towards Rama. Each step was quaking the earth and the trees were falling  at distant forests.  Rama sent three arrows, one infused with the force of wind and the other two with crescent-shaped heads powered by Indra's thunderbolt, which tore his other arm and his two legs. With blood shooting out of the stumps of his limbs like the red magma, and splashing all over, he uttered a thunderous cry out of his cavernous mouth. Rama silenced him in a trice by sending  a shower of arrows into his mouth.  Rama took another arrow, empowered it  with the force of  Brahmastra - Bramah's weapon -  and shot. This arrow streaked and glowed like a comet, lighting up its path and severed Kumbakarna's head. His mountainous head looking like a luminous moon in the night sky with dazzling earrings, sped through space at lightning speed, knocking down the  city's northern gate, and  rolling down the highway.  The head, impacted by the tremendous force of the celestial missile, plunked into the ocean, causing tidal waves. His head surfaced and bobbed upon the waves turning the brine crimson. Schools of fish came like waves; a million of them nibbled his head down to the bone; they were the most efficient eating machines; later they had fun chasing one another through the natural holes and clefts in the skull bone. If he were alive, he would have eaten them all in one gulp.

A pantheon of gods and rishis, hovering in the sky, showered adulations and celestial flowers on Rama; the monkeys  huddled close to him.  The remaining Raksasas took to their heels in wonder, shock, and awe.   


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