|Values for Life: Just as a bitter pill is always disliked by a patient, the same thing happens when wise advice is given to an insane person.
Ravan resorted to wake his brother up. It was the ninth day of resuming Kumbhakarn’s sleep. While accepting the plea of Ravan to exempt his brother from his incessant sleep for a day, Lord Brahma had stipulated a condition that a premature waking up of Kumbhakarn will bring his death. However, with no other option, Ravan sent his huge force to wake him up. A large number of soldiers together bate drums, kettle drums and cymbals, standing very close to his ears in the highest tempo and pitch. Many chariots and elephants in procession walked over his body. Mahouts persuaded their elephants to insert their trunks into Kumbhakarn’s nostrils and pluck the hairs. The hairs did not get plucked; instead, the trunks got cut off by the sturdy and harsh nostril-born hairs of Kumbhakarn. The elephants went berserk with loud cries. After a herculean task from dawn to dusk, Kumbhakarn somehow got up. All the soldiers playing various tricks on him ran away in panic.
Hills of cooked rice, meat, liquor and other ingredients were served before him. After consuming the whole food and liquor he straight went to his brother. Ravan embraced him with tender love and affection. He learnt with grief that many of his kinsmen were given to death by Ram and the vanar army. He was also happy that Vibhishan, his younger brother sought refuge unto Ram. Kumbhakarn told Ravan: “I have already warned you of the eventualities. Had you acted timely many of our men were alive today and most of the ruin of our country would have been averted. Still there is hope and we can rescue the remaining tribes and ourselves if you choose to return Sita to Ram. I have learnt and told you that Ram is none other than Lord Narayan. He has incarnated to incinerate you and us. But he is merciful too. Surrender unto him and return Sita.” As bitter pill to a patient, Ravan did not like this wise counsel from his younger. He said:“I thank you for the advice. You can also follow Vibhishan or go to sleep. I shall alone fight the men and the monkeys. Good bye.”
Kumbhakarn replied: “You are my elder brother, equal to my father. Good or bad, I shall go to the battle field. If I beget the fortune of being killed by Ram, what more salvation do I require?” Observing the gargantuan features of Kumbhakarn who was treading into the war-front, swinging his enormous iron spike, all the vanars ran away in all directions. Sri Ram, seeing the awesome personality of Kumbhakarn inquired about Kumbhakaran from Vibhishan. Vibhishan said:“This is Ravan’s younger and my elder; Kumbhakarn. He is very wise, learned and a brave fighter.”Then Vibhishan went forward and fell at the feet of his brother.He told Kumbhakaran,“I had told our brother to return Sita to Ram,” said Vibhishan, “The petulant Ravan did not give heed and be tried to kill me. I escaped from his wrath and took refuge unto Ram.”
Kumbhakarn embraced his brother and consoled him: “May all good befall you;” said he, “Live happily for longer days. Our race will continue through you. What you have done is the most ideal thing. I am happy about it. Serve Ram, the supreme Lord.”
Kumbhakarn thrashed and killed a large number of monkeys. Sugreev unable to bear the perilous situation plucked a peak of the mountain and threw it onto Kumbhakarn The angry king of vanars inflicted wounds on the nose and ears of Kumbhakarn with his teeth and nails and flew back. The disgraced and ashamed Kumbhakarn bathed in blood, returned to the battle field again. Lakshman now opposed him. Unmindful of Lakshman’s attack, Kumbhakarn gathered as many monkeys as possible and swallowed them. They, however, came out through his nostrils and ears. The Rakshas leader left Lakshman out and proceeded towards Ram who welcomed him with arrows. With one of Ram’s arrows the Rakshasa’s spike-holding hand was chopped – off. When Kumbhakarn fell on the ground a large number of monkeys were crushed to death. He got up again, plucked a huge tree with his left hand and approached Sri Ram, who cut off his left hand as well with Indrastra. Handless, yet Kumbhakarn with terrible uproar ran up towards Ram with wide open mouth. With two arrows Ram cut off his feet and with another arrow he severed Kumbhakarn’s head.
KK Shanmukhan ( To be concluded )