Encyclopedia for Epics of Ancient India

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SURPANAKHA. [Source: Dowson's Classical Dictionary of Hindu Mythology] 'Having nails like winnowing-fans.' Sister of Ravana.

This Rakshasi admired the beauty of Rama and fell in love with him.

When she made advances to Rama he referred her to Lakshmana, and Lakshmana in like manner sent her back to Rama. Enraged at this double rejection, she fell upon Sita, and Rama was obliged to interfere forcibly for the protection of his wife. He called out to Lakshmana to disfigure the violent Rakshasi, and Lakshmana cut off her nose and ears.

She flew to her brothers for revenge, and this brought on the war between Rama and Ravana. She descanted to Ravana on the beauty of Sita, and instigated his carrying her off, and finally she cursed him just before the engagement in which he was killed.

Modern Languages MLLL-4993. Indian Epics. Laura Gibbs, Ph.D. The textual material made available at this website is licensed under a Creative Commons License. You must give the original author credit. You may not use this work for commercial purposes. If you alter, transform, or build upon this work, you may distribute the resulting work only under a license identical to this one. No claims are made regarding the status of images used at this website; if you own the copyright privileges to any of these images and believe your copyright privileges have been violated, please contact the webmaster. Page last updated: October 16, 2007 12:22 PM