TT the time when the demon Ravana of Lanka was killed by Sri Ram, Ravana’s son, Sahasramukha Ravana or the hundred-headed one was only a child. On growing up, when he learnt about his father meeting his death at the hands of Sri Ram, Sahasramukha vowed to take revenge against Sri Ram.
Day by day, his hatred towards Sri Ram grew and Sahasramukha decided to do penance. He meditated for years and years till Brahma got worried at such severe penance by his devotee and appeared before Sahasramukha. Brahma asked him, “Tell me, what it is that you want? You have been doing such severe penance that I could not remain untouched by it.”
Sahasramukha replied, “Lord, I want to become so powerful that nobody can destroy me.”
Brahma replied, “I can’t give you absolute power or make you immortal. I however grant you the boon that you shall live for long and you can be killed only by a truly chaste woman.”
Sahasramukha meanwhile got down to building an army of very powerful soldiers. He decided to launch an attack on Sri Ram. He took his huge army to Ayodhya and set it ablaze. When Sri Ram came to know of this, he became really worried. He knew it was not easy to tackle a demon. In desperation, Sri Ram turned to Lord Brahma for advice and the latter told him that the best way to tackle Ravana’s son was to send able-bodied and chaste women to the battlefield to confront Sahasramukha.
Sri Ram ordered his commander to collect all the chaste women and send them to push away Ravana’s son. But the army of women got such a drubbing that many died and some were left maimed and injured. It then struck Sri Ram that the only woman who could defeat the demon was Sita. But within his hearts of hearts he knew that it would be difficult to persuade Sita to fight on behalf of Ayodhya after the way the people of the city had humiliated her.
He however, decided to try his luck and set a message to her telling her that he was lying on his deathbed and wanted to see her before he departed from this world. On hearing this, Sita rushed towards Ayodhya but before she could set foot in the city, Sahasramukha came and blocked her path to prevent her from entering the city. This made Sita fly into a rage and she picked up a blade of grass and after uttering some shlokas she transformed the blade of grass into a lethal missile through the power of her chastity. She aimed it at Sahasramukha. The missile went flying straight at the demon and tore him into two pieces, killing him there and then. In this way, Brahma’s boon came to pass.