Mandodari stares at the dead body of Ravana and laments, recollecting the strength and power of Ravana. But, she realizes that Rama, who killed Ravana, is none other than Vishnu the lord of maintenance of the world. She further laments that Ravana has done a sinful deed in abducting Seetha and that he has faced the consequence in the form of his death; in the hands of Rama. She describes the charming personality and the unconquerable prowess of Ravana, but expresses her surprise how he has been killed by a mortal like Rama. Mandodari's co-wives console her. Meanwhile, Rama asks Vibhishana to perform obsequies to Ravana. Initially, Vibhishana refuses to perform the last rites, but when Rama convinces him, he begins to perform the funeral of Ravana. After the funeral is over, Vibhishana comes and joins Rama, who along with Lakshmana, Sugreeva and others experience happiness for having destroyed their enemy.
While those consorts were weeping on that occasion, Mandodari, the senior most and beloved wife of Ravana, who was feeling miserable, stared at her husband.
Gazing at Ravana, her husband who was killed by Rama of unimaginable exploits, Mandodari there, miserably lamented (as follows): "O the great armed, the brother of Kubera! Even Indra the destroyer of strongholds, indeed dares not to stand before you, when you were enraged. Because of fear from you, eminent sages, illustrious Gandharvas the celestial musicians and the wandering bards indeed fled in all directions."
"O the lord of demons! O king! How is it that you are not ashamed, though you were conquered in battle, by Rama, a mere mortal? How did a mortal, wandering in a forest, killed you, who having overcome the three worlds by dint of your prowess, had grown irresistible and were endowed with glory?"
"It is not possible of annihilation of yourself, who lived in a place not accessible to men and was able to assume any form at your will, by Rama in battle. I do not believe this act of Rama in the battle-front, nor do I believe of the attack by him, on your army, fully equipped with all the implements of war."
"The moment your brother Khara was killed by Rama in Janasthana, though surrounded by a multitude of demons, it became evident that Rama was really no mortal. We felt painful, the moment Hanuma penetrated, by dint of his prowess, deep into the City of Lanka, which was difficult to be entered even for gods."
"The day when the terrific monkeys built a bridge on the great ocean, that day itself I believed that Rama was not an ordinary mortal. Otherwise, for your destruction, Yama, the lord of Death came himself assuming the form of Rama having arranged an unimaginable form of illusion."
"O the mighty lord! Otherwise, you might have been overpowered by Indra the lord of celestials. But for Indra, where is the capacity even to behold you in battle? This Rama is certainly a great ascetic, an eternal person, having no beginning middle or end, greater than distinguished universal spirit like Brahma, the one beyond ignorance, the nourisher, wielding a conch, a disc and a mace, wearing the 'Srivatsa' mark on his chest, of lasting beauty, incapable of being conquered, a perpetual one, being the constant soul of the universe, truly mighty, the lord of all the worlds, the prosperous one having a great splendour and Vishnu, the lord of maintenance of the world with a wish to benefit the worlds, assuming a human form surrounded by all the gods in the form of monkeys, Rama killed you, surrounded by demons.
"In the past, by performing a great penance, you conquered the senses and conquered the three worlds. Now, as if revenging that enmity, those very senses conquered you. The moment your brother Khara was killed by Rama in Janasthana, though surrounded by a multitude of demons, it became evident that Rama was really no mortal. We felt perturbed, the moment Hanuma penetrated, by dint of his prowess, deeply into the City of Lanka, which was difficult to be entered even for gods. This evil result has come upon you, since you did not heed to my advice, saying that no hostility should be entered into with Rama."
"O the foremost of demons! For the annihilation of your power, your body and your own people, you conceived a desire for Seetha suddenly. O the foolish one! An unworthy act was indeed done by you, in offending Seetha, who was more distinguished and more respectable than Arundhati (wife of sage Vasishta) and Rohini (the principal spouse of moon-god)."
"O my lord, who annihilated yourself and your people! Seetha is the model of forbearance even to the Goddess Earth and a model of grace to Lakshmi, the goddess of fortune and charm. She is extremely fond of her husband. By a recourse to a fraud in bringing that Seetha in a lonely forest, faultless in every limb as she was, and charming though miserable, and having failed to fulfill your desire for union with Seetha and due to your own fault you have been surely consumed by the asceticism of that woman, devoted as she was to her husband."
"It is because, the gods together with Indra the ruler of gods including those headed by the fire-god fear you, that you were not consumed even while you were laying hands on Seetha, the slender-waisted woman."
"There is no doubt that when the time comes, the doer surely reaps a harsh fruit of his sinful deed. The doer of an auspicious act obtains happiness, while the doer of a sinful act reaps misery. While Vibhishana has obtained happiness, you met with such an evil destiny."
"There are other women, more excellent in form than Seetha for you in your gynaecium. Having fallen a prey to the power of passion, you did not know it through ignorance. Seetha is no match for me either in birth or in beauty or in amiability. You did not perceive this through infatuation."
"At any time, there is no causeless death for any living being. As for you, this Seetha has become a cause. Death which was brought about on account of Seetha was invited by you from a far-off distance. Free from sorrow, Seetha will now be enjoying herself with Rama."
"I, however, whose stock of merit was deficient, have fallen into a terrific ocean of grief. I, who having enjoyed myself with you in suitable aerial cars in Mount Kailasa, mount Mandara, Mount Meru and in a grove named Chaitraratha and in all celestial gardens, decked as was with lovely garlands and clad in colorful robes and invested in matchless splendour, visiting and seeing various lands of every description have now been deprived of all sense- enjoyments because of your death. Though the same, I stand transformed into another as it were. Woe be to the flickering fortunes of kings!"
"Alas, O king! That face of yours which was so tender, O lord, and distinguished by charming eye-brows, a gloss surface, having an exceptionally prominent nose, coppery lips and brilliant ear-rings, which vied with the moon the lotus and the sun in loveliness, light and luster, was illumined by a number of diadems, which shone with its eyes wild and rolling through inebriety in banqueting places, bore garlands of various kinds, was lovely and charming in every way, was lit with a captivating smile and indulged in a delightful talk - that face of yours does not actually shine as before today pierced with Rama’s arrows, it lies dyed with streams of blood. It has its marrow shattered and has got soiled through the dust raised by the chariots."
"Alas! The last stage of my life, which conferred widow ship on me, has come and which was never contemplated me at any time; a stupid woman as I am. I was very much proud that my father was king of demons, my husband a lord of demons and my son, a conqueror of Indra the lord of celestials."
"How did this unknown danger come from a mortal to you, who were so powerful? O king! The body of yours which was really dark as glossy sapphire, gigantic like a lofty mountain and resplendent with Keyuras and Angadas (two varieties of armlets) and necklace of cat's eye-gems and pearls and wreaths of flowers, which body looked more charming during your pleasure-walks and dazzling in battle-fields, which shone with luster of jewels as a rainy cloud with flashes of lightning lies transfixed in numerous sharp arrows today. Though it will be difficult for me to touch it again, it is no longer possible to embrace it. It has tendons cut to pieces, by arrows of Rama, dug deep into your vital parts and closely transfixed like the spines of a porcupine. Though dark of complexion, it is now transformed into the colour of blood and lies fallen on the ground like a mountain broken into pieces when hit by a stroke of thunder-bolt."
“Alas! Is it a dream? Is it the reality? But, how could you be killed by Rama? You were the death, even to Death himself. How did you depart from this world, falling under the sway of Death? My husband enjoyed the wealth of all the three worlds. He gave tremendous fear to the three worlds. He conquered the guardians of the worlds and lifted up Lord Shiva (along with his seat, Mount Kailasa).”
“My husband held down those who were arrogant. He manifested his prowess and shook up the worlds. He caused the living beings to weep, with his roars. He used to utter arrogant words with vigour in the presence of his enemies. He was the protector for his troop and his servants. He was the killer of those who indulged in terrible acts.”
“He was the killer of the lords of demons and Yakshas the super natural beings in thousands. He was drawing to himself, the demons called Nivatakavachas, in battles. My husband ruined several sacrificial performances. He was the protector of his own people. He violated the moral order. He violated the moral order. He created conjuring tricks on the battle-field.”
“He used to bring the virgin-daughters of gods, demons and human beings from here and there. He brought mourning to his enemy’s wives. He was the leader of his own people. He was the protector of the island of Lanka. He was the doer of terrible deeds. He was the bestower of desires and sensual gratifications to us. He was excellent among the chariot-warriors.”
“Seeing my husband with such power struck down by Rama, I, having my husband killed, am hard-hearted indeed, still bearing this body. Having reposed on very valuable coaches, O the king of demons, why are you lying buried in sleep slumber on the bare ground and shrouded in dust?"
“When Indrajit, your son was killed in battle by Lakshmana, I was hard-hit then and today, of course, I am completely beaten down. Bereft of kinsfolk and forsaken by you, my lord, and deprived of desires and sensual enjoyments, I shall lament for ever more years.”
“O king! Having embarked today on a long journey, which is very difficult to be traversed, take me too with you, tormented as I am with grief. I shall not survive without you. Why do you intend to go, leaving me here, miserable as I am? Why do you not speak to me, a sad and lamenting creature, and unfortunate as I am?”
“O Lord! Are you not indeed enraged, in seeing me on foot in this way out through the city-gate, unveiled and come on foot in the way? O lover of your consorts! Look at all your spouses, who came out, with their veils dropped off. Why are you not getting enraged in seeing this?”
“This Mandodari, who was helping in your sport with you, is weeping with helplessness. You are not consoling her. Do you not have a high esteem of her? You have fallen under the sway of your enemies in that you were cursed by the numerous women of noble lineage, who, though devoted to their husband, fond of piety and intent on the service of their elders, had been widowed by you, O king, and were accordingly tormented with grief. That curse which was pronounced at that time by those aggrieved women on their having been wronged by you, has fallen on you.”
“The popular saying that ‘the tears of virtuous wives d not generally fall on the ground in vain’ has come out probably true in your case O king! How was this mean act of abducting a lady, done by you, who having invaded the three worlds, were proud f your prowess?”
“It was indeed a mark of your cowardice that Rama’s consort was borne away by you, after luring away Rama from his hermitage in the pretext of deer. I do not recall your faint-heartedness at any time on the battle-field. That case of abduction of Seetha, however, was due to your ill-luck and certainly as the result of your sins.”
"O the mighty armed one! Whatever my younger brother-in-law, Vibhishana who knows matters relating to the pat and of the future and also conversant with the present said after reflecting and sighing for long, on seeing Seetha abducted by you: 'The destruction of the chiefs among the demons now is imminent, have become true words. This misfortune had come from the lust, wrath and addiction to the vice of deep attachment."
"This major disaster occurred, destroying our very root, because of you. This entire race of demons has been deprived of its protector, by you. You, who were far illustrious for your strength and prowess, do not deserve to be lamented for by me. But, because of feminine nature, my mind is leaning towards melancholy."
"By taking away your merit and sin, you obtained your course of fate. I, however, mourn for my own self, so afflicted as I am, by your death. O Ravana! You did not hear the advice of your friends, who wish for your welfare. Nor did you hear the words of your brothers completely."
"The counsel offered by Vibhishana, which was endowed with reason, meaning, rule of conduct, wholesome, gentle and well-founded, was not implemented by you. The advices offered by Mareecha, Kumbhakarna, myself and my father have not been heeded by you, who were arrogant of your prowess. What is followed is a bitter consequence of your perversity."
"My lord, resembling a dark cloud in hue, clad in yellow and decked with brilliant armlets, why are you lying with your limbs, cast away on the ground and bathed in blood? As though fast asleep, why are you not replying to me, the granddaughter of Somali the demon who was clever, endowed with extraordinary prowess and never retreated in battles, tormented with grief as I am?"
"Arise, arise! Why are you lying down, though subjected to a fresh insult? The sun's rays have penetrated deep into Lanka today, without any fear. Torn into thousand pieces, that iron bludgeon of yours, which was brilliant as the sun, like a thunderbolt of Indra, with which you killed your enemies in the battle-field, which was constantly honoured by you, which had struck many in battle and which was decked with gold, lies scattered."
Why are you lying down, embracing the battle-ground, as one would embrace a loved one? Why do you not feel inclined to reply to me, as though I were abhorrent to you? Woe be to me, that my heart is not bursting into pieces, tormented as I am with grief, now that you have returned to the five elements.”
Lamenting thus, with her eyes filled with tears and her heart moistened with love, Mandodari, at that time, fell into a swoon. Fallen on the breast of Ravana, that dispirited Mandodari, stricken as she was with grief, shone like a vivid flash of lightning across a rainy cloud, reddened by the flow of twilight.
Raising up Mandodari, who was in that condition bitterly weeping, her co-wives who were also weeping, very much distressed as they were, began to console her (as follows): "Don't you know the uncertain state of the worlds, O queen, that the wealth of kings is unsteady, when there is a change in the tide of their fate? While they were consoling thus, Mandodari, moistening her breasts and her spotless face in tears, wept aloud at that moment.
Reflecting with his intellect, the intelligent Vibhishana, the knower of virtue, thereupon, spoke to Rama, the following words, which were in conformity with righteousness and self-interest. "I am not obliged to perform the obsequies to him, who had abandoned the vow of virtue, who was cruel, who killed human beings, who was a cheater and who had longed for others' wives. This Ravana, who was interested in wishing evil to all, though venerable as a respectable elder, is not fit for honour. He is my enemy, in the guise of a brother."
Hearing those words, Rama the best among the supporters of virtue and skilled in speech, was very much pleased and spoke the following words to Vibhishana, the intelligent one in his speech. "O king of demons! I too have to do a favour to you. I won the battle because of you. Certainly I have to give you an appropriate advice. This demon may be full of unrighteousness and falsehood. But, he was brilliant, strong and ever a brave warrior in battles."
"It is heard that Ravana who was mighty, endowed with strength and who was causing people to cry, was not conquered by the chiefs like Indra and others. Hostilities end with death. Our purpose has been accomplished. Let his funeral rites be performed. He is even as good mine also, as yours. According to rule, Ravana is eligible to get the last rites on his dead body from you, by usage. You will also become fit for glory."
Having heard the words of Rama, Vibhishana in haste began to do obsequies to Ravana, his dead brother. Entering the City of Lanka, that Vibhishana, the lord of demons, quickly concluded the Agnihotra (the act of pouring oblations into the sacred fire) carried on by Ravana.
Vibhishana actually caused to be brought together, carts, excellent varieties of firewood, the three sacred fires and the priests required to officiate at the obsequies, logs of sandalwood, various types of firewood, pieces of fragrant aloe-wood, odorous perfumes, as well as gems, pearls and corals.
Surrounded with demons, he came back for a while and thereupon, Vibhishana along with malyavan (the father of his own mother) initiated the obsequies. Placing Ravana, the lord of demons, who was covered with linen, accompanied by blasts of various musical instruments as well as panegyrists singing his the Brahmanas (forming part of the demon's race, which was apparently divided into four classes, like human beings) stood around him with their faces filled in tears. Lifting up that palanquin, which had been decorated with colorful flags and flowers and taking up blocks of wood, all the demons for their part, with Vibhishana in front, proceeded with their face turned towards the south.
Those sacrificial fires were ignited and re-animated, as they were, by Adhvaryu priests, the performers of the sacrificial act, at that time. Those sacrificial fires were contained in earthen pots and went in front of Ravana's body. All those women of the gynaecium, while weeping, followed at his heels with quick paces, stumbling, as they were, on all sides.
Keeping the body of Ravana on a consecrated spot, Vibhishana and others, who were very much afflicted with grief, piled up a sacred pyre, with logs of sandalwood, moistened with perfumes called Padmaka and Koshira and covered with the skin of black antelopes, turned about to perform the obsequies in accordance with Vedic rites in honour of the king.
They performed the ancestral oblations to Ravana in a superb way. They constructed an altar in the south-east the funeral pile) and placed the sacred fire in its proper place. They poured a ladle-full of ghee mixed with curds on his shoulders, placed a cart at his feet and then a wooden mortar at his thighs.
Having set at their proper place, all the wooden vessels (used in Agnihotra), the lower piece of wood used for kindling fire at a sacrifice and the upper piece of wood (which is rotated at great speed on to lower one, to produce fire by friction), the wooden pestle and other things used in the sacrifice, they circled around the funeral pyre.
According to ordinance laid down by eminent sages and according to the rules viewed in Vedas, having sacrificed a goat fit for sacrifice at that spot, the demons dampened with ghee on Ravana the King of demons. Having decorated the body of Ravana with perfumes, garlands and various kinds of clothes; those demons accompanied by Vibhishana, distressed as they were in their minds, poured parched grains of rice, with their faces bathed in tears.
That Vibhishana set fire to Ravana, according to the rules in the scriptures. Washing himself and offering in his wet clothes, according to scriptural ordinance, sesame seeds mixed with water, as well as blades of Kusha grass and offering obeisance to Ravana by bowing his head, Vibhishana entreated those women to return, consoling them again and again. Then, all of the returned to the City.
When those women were re-entering the City, Vibhishana the lord of demons on approaching Rama's vicinity then remained standing there with humility. Having destroyed the enemy, Rama too experienced happiness, along with his army as well as with Sugreeva and Lakshmana, even as Indra the wielder of thunderbolt did on destroying Vritra the demon.
Thereupon, taking off his bow and arrows as also that great armour endowed to him by Indra, Rama the annihilator of his enemies, taking off his anger too, because of the enemy's defeat, then obtained a charming benevolence.
Thus, this is the 111th chapter in Yuddha Kanda of Valmiki Ramayana, the First Epic poem of India.
© July 2009, K. M. K. Murthy