A fierce battle of archery starts between Indrajit and Lakshmana. Indrajit strikes Lakshmana with seven arrows, Hanuma with ten arrows and Vibhishana with a hundred arrows, almost at the same time. In retaliation, Lakshmana strikes Indrajit with a multiple of arrows and Indrajit’s armour breaks up into pieces. Indrajit, in response, strikes Lakshmana with a thousand arrows and breaks up Lakshmana’s armour. A fierce fight ensues for a long time. Meanwhile, Vibhishana joins the battle-field, to relieve Lakshmana’s fatigue.
Hearing the words of Vibhishana, Indrajit was excited with rage, spoke harsh words and rushed forward in fury. Indrajit was looking like Yama the lord of Death at the time of dissolution of the world, sitting in a well-decorated and distinguished chariot yoked with black horses, having upraised sword and weapons, raising a big terrific enormous strong and swift bow and laying hold of arrows which can torment the enemies.
The mighty the destroyer of adversaries, wielding a large bow, fully adorned, and seated in a chariot saw that Lakshmana who was embellished with his own splendor. Indrajit hurriedly spoke to those foremost of monkeys and to this Lakshmana, who ascended Hanuma’s back with a splendor of the sun shining on Mount Udaya and also with Vibhishana as follows: “You behold my prowess now. Now, you can face an unconquerable stream of arrows, like rain, released in the sky, as discharged from my bow in the battle-field. Today my arrows released from my large bow will destroy your bodies, as fire consumes a pile of cotton. Today, I will send all of you to the world of Yama the lord of Death, by piercing you with my sharp arrows and hurling the pikes, javelins and lances on you.
" Who can stand before me, while I release streams of arrows with my swift-hand in battle, thundering like a cloud? Earlier on that day, in a nocturnal battle, both of you along with Sugreeva and other followers, were made unconscious by my arrows which were like thunderbolts and tips of missiles as also you were made to fall down on the floor. Do you not have that remembrance? I presume clearly that you are on the road to Yama the lord of Death, since you have come to give battle to me, enraged as I am, like a venomous serpent.”
Enraged in hearing that roaring of Indrajit, Lakshmana then spoke the following words, with a courageous countenance. “O demon! It has been proclaimed by you about the successful conclusion of your tasks, eventhough it is difficult to achieve them. He alone is clever, whoever carries through his undertakings in practice.”
“O evil-minded one! You are thinking that you have accomplished your end, by proclaiming through word alone, the achievement of your end, which is difficult to attain for anyone, though you, as such, lack in capacity to achieve your purpose. The path, which was followed on that day by you, becoming invisible in the battle-field, is the one trodden by thieves and is not the path followed by valiant ones. O demon! Having reached the range of your arrows, I am standing before you. Therefore show your prowess today. Why should you brag with your words?
Hearing those words, the mighty Indrajit, victorious in battle, reaching his terrific bow, released sharp arrows from it. Duly reaching Lakshmana, the arrows released by Indrajit, which rushed with great speed and were as deadly as the venom of serpents, fell like the hissing of snakes.
The swift Indrajit, the son of Ravana, with his arrows of very great velocity, in that battle, struck Lakshmana who was endowed with auspicious body-marks. That glorious Lakshmana, drenched in blood, with his body very much wounded by arrows, shone like a smokeless flame.
Mulling over his own feat, Indrajit for his part, approaching Lakshmana and emitting an exceedingly loud roar, spoke the following words: “The sharp-edged and deadly arrows, with their wings, released from my bow, will now take your life, O Lakshmana! Let a number of Jackals, multitude of hawks and vultures descend upon you, when struck down by me, you are dead. The exceedingly evil-minded Rama now itself can see you, a mere kshatriya (military class only for a name sake), ever ignoble and his devoted brother, killed by me. O Lakshmana! Rama will see you, struck down by me today, with your armour dropped down, bow thrown about and head dismantled.”
Lakshmana, understanding the sense of the word, replied in the following logical words to the enraged Indrajit thus speaking harshly.
“O evil-minded one! Give up strength of speech in your empty words. O demons! You are doing cruel acts. Why do you indulge in such idle talk? Make it active with your good work. Without performing that act, why do you boast yourself here? Perform that act by which I can believe your brag. O the worst of persons! Without speaking even a few harsh words, without abusing you and without bragging myself, Lo! I will kill you.”
Thus speaking, Lakshmana stretching five steel arrows upto the ear, dug them into the demon’s chest with a great speed. The arrows, blazing like serpents and feathered with fine plumes, shone like sun-rays in that demon’s chest. Struck with arrows by Lakshmana, that enraged Indrajit pierced in return three arrows well-directed towards Lakshmana.
That fight between Lakshmana, the foremost among men and Indrajit, the formost among demons, who wished to conquer one over the other in battle, was most terrific and tumultuous. Both were endowed with strength. Both were distinguished for their prowess. Both were exceedingly difficult to conquer and peerless in strength and courage.
Those two heroes, who were difficult to overcome in battle, fought at that moment like two plants figuring in the sky and like Indra and Vritra, the demon. Then, the two warriors, who were engaged in releasing several streams of arrows, fought like two lions. Lakshmana the foremost among humans and Indrajit the foremost among demons fought with rejoice.
Thereupon, Lakshmana the tormentator of enemies, fitting his arrows to his bow, released arrows on Indrajit, hissing like an enraged serpent. Hearing the twang of the bow-string of Lakshmana, Indrajit the Chief of demons became pale-faced and fixed his gaze on Lakshmana.
Seeing Indrajit (the son of Ravana) pale-faced, Vibhishana spoke as follows to Lakshmana, who was fully absorbed in the fight. “O the long-armed Lakshmana! I infer on the strength of the indications which I see in Indrajit, that he is disappointed. There is no doubt about it. Make haste.”
Thereupon, fitting to his bow sharp arrows, resembling poisonous snakes, Lakshmana discharged those arrows which looked like serpents full of venom to him. Hit by Lakshmana with arrows, which invaded all his senses, like the hit of Indra’s thunderbolt, Indrajit became stupefied for a moment.
Regaining his consciousness within a moment, with his senses restored, that Indrajit saw the valiant Lakshmana engaged in the battle.
With blood-red eyes in anger, Indrajit walked towards Lakshmana. Approaching Lakshmana, he again spoke the following harsh words to him: “Don’t you remember my prowess in the first encounter, when you along with your brother, was bound by me and you wriggled on the floor? At first, both of you along with your foremost warriors in a major encounter, were indeed laid down unconscious on the ground, by my arrows which were equal to Indra’s thunderbolt. The fact that you desire to attack me means that either the remembrance of it no longer exists in you or I presume you desire to go clearly to the abode of Yama the lord of Death. If my prowess was not witnessed by you in the first encounter, I will show it today. Stand ready for it now.”
Thus speaking, he struck Lakshmana with seven arrows and Hanuma with ten excellent sharp-edged arrows. Then, the valiant Idnrajit with anger and with twice as much vehemence, wounded Vibhishana with a hundred well-aimed arrows.
Seeing that feat accomplished by Indrajit, yet disregarding it, deriding it by saying “This is noting” and taking up terrific arrows, the fearless and enraged Lakshmana the younger brother of Rama and foremost among men, then discharged them against Indrajit in battle. “O demon! Heroes who come to battle do not strike like this. These arrows of yours are light, weak and mild indeed. Warriors, who wish to win in battle, do not fight like this.” Thus speaking, Lakshmana the wielder of a bow, streamed forth arrows on him.
A large golden armour, broken to pieces by Lakshmana’s arrows, slipped down in the middle of chariot, like a cob-web of stars falling from the sky. The valiant Indrajit, with his armour disheveled by the steel arrows, was wounded in battle and looked like the sun at dawn. Thereafter, the valiant Indrajit of terrific prowess was enraged and wounded Lakshmana with a thousand arrows in battle. The large celestial armour of Lakshmana broke into pieces. The two warriors vied with each other in offence and retaliation in their attack.
Those two warriors, with their entire bodies lacerated in combat, smeared with blood all around and breathing heavily, fought the battle tumultuously. Thos mighty warriors, skilled in warfare, were cutting through each other, for a long time, with sharp arrows.
Those two heroes f terrific prowess stay on strenuously trying to secure their own victory, covered as they were, all over with a multitude of arrows as also their armour and standards torn to pieces. They stood emitting hot blood, as two water-falls gushing hot water.
Much of a time lapsed while the two warriors fought loosing terrific stream of arrows, then with an awful clamour, like two dark destructive clouds raining from the sky. They neither trned their back from the battle, nor experienced any fatigue.
Displaying their missiles again and again, the two warriors, who were excellent among those skilled in the use missiles, fastened a net work of arrows both large and small, in the sky. Loosing their arrows faultlessly, gracefully and easily in a wonderful way, both the man and the demon carried on a tumultuous and terrific war.
Their terrific and tumultuous sound could be heard one by one repeatedly. That sound created a tremble in people, like a violent thunder-storm. That clamour of those two warriors, who were engaged thus in that martial act, resembled the rumbling of two dreadful thundering clouds in the sky.
Those two mighty and glorious warriors, who were determined to gain victory over one another, wounded with golden-shafted steel arrows, were profusely giving out blood. Fallen on their limbs, the golden-shafted arrows, dropped on the battle-field, smeared with blood and pierced into the surface of the earth.
Some more arrows released by those two warriors clashed in thousands with sharp weapons in the sky and shattered and tore them. The terrific pile of arrows in battle appeared like a mass of sacred Kusha grass by the side of two blazing fires at a sacrifice.
The wounded bodies of those two mighty warriors shoen like Kimshuka and Shalmali (silk-cotton) trees in full blossom, deprived of leaves. Indrajit and Lakshmana who were time and again wishing to attain victory one over the other, carried out tumultuous and terrific battle.
In the combat, Lakshmana was striking Indrajit and Indrajit too was striking Lakshmana. Both of them were striking each other and did not experience any weariness. With a multitude of arrows dug deep into their bodies, those two warriors, of great prowess and swiftness, shone like two mountains shooting forth plants from them.
At that time, all their limbs, dampened with blood and thickly covered with arrows shone very much like blazing fires. A lot of time lapsed in the meanwhile past the two warriors. They neither turned their back from the battle nor experienced any fatigue. Then, to relieve martial weariness of Lakshmana, who did not experience defeat in any facet of war, the great-souled Vibhishana, offering agreeable and salutary words, took up his position, on reaching the battle-field.
Thus, this is the 88th chapter in Yuddha Kanda of Valmiki Ramayana, the First Epic poem of India.