Your Reading B for this week is Buck's Ramayana, pp. 270-324. You might want to read over the previous reading guide to remind yourself of what has happened so far.
p. 270. The bridge to Lanka. After Hanuman's report, Rama and his allies leave Kishkindhya, heading south towards the ocean. Rama grows angry at the ocean and curses it. Samudra, the Water King, rises up and speaks to Rama. He explains that the monkey Nala is able to make rocks float on water. Using Nala's skill, they build a bridge to Lanka. Even the squirrels help.
p. 278. Vibhishana. Vibhishana urges Ravana to relent and give Sita back. Ravana is enraged and accuses Vibhishana of having betrayed him. Vibhishana leaves Ravana, and seeks shelter with Rama. Hanuman is grateful to Vibhishana, and welcomes him. Sugriva does not trust Vibhishana, and quarrels with Hanuman. Rama decides to trust Vibhishana. Vibhishana agrees to help Rama and his allies, but he will not fight his own people.
p. 282. Spies. Rama and his animal allies cross the bridge over to Lanka and they assemble at Trikuta Hill. Meanwhile, Śuka, the hawk who is Ravana's minister, is spying on their activities. Angada grabs Śuka and is prepared to strangle him, but Sugriva tells Angada to release him. Sugriva then gives Śuka a defiant message to take back to Ravana. When he hears what is happening, Ravana sends two demons, Sardula and Sarana, to spy on Rama's army. They take the form of monkeys, but Vibhishana is able to detect them. He captures the spies to bring to Rama. Sarana vanishes into thin air. Rama speaks with Sardula and sends him back to Ravana.
p. 285. Magicians. Lightning-Tongue and Thunder-Tooth are Ravana's magicians. The Sanskrit name for "Lightning-Tongue" is Vidyuj-jihva. The Sanskrit name for "Thunder-Tooth" is Vajradanshtra. Thunder-Tooth creates an illusion that looks like Rama's bow. Lightning-Tongue creates an illusion that looks like Rama's bloody head. Ravana goes to Sita and breaks the bow into pieces. He tells her that Prahasta has killed Rama, and Lightning-Tongue throws the bloody head at her feet. Sita begins to weep when she recognizes Rama's features. Prahasta bursts in, ignorant of what is happening, and announces Rama's arrival in Lanka. The illusions vanish. Trijata consoles Sita and agrees to spy on Ravana so that Sita knows what he is planning.
p. 289. Visitors. The old demon Malyavan, who fought with Vishnu in Lanka long ago, comes to give Ravana an important message. But when he enters into Ravana's presence, he becomes confused and forgets what he had wanted to say. Meanwhile, Rama sends Angada as an ambassador to Ravana. Ravana receives him politely, but Ravana is defiant and boastful. He wants war.
p. 294. Prahasta. Prahasta leads an attack in the daylight hours, but Rama and his allies overpower the demons and they retreat, defeated. The demons realize their strength is best in the dark. Prahasta and the demons attack at night. Nala stands up to Prahasta, and manages to topple him from his chariot. He then attacks Prahasta with a wheel from the chariot. Prahasta is killed.
p. 298. Kumbhakarna. After Prahasta's death, Ravana decides to awaken his brother, the giant Kumbhakarna. Kumbhakarna urges Ravana to simply give Sita back to Rama, because it is wrong to take another man's wife. Ravana refuses to listen to Kumbhakarna and Kumbhakarna finally agrees to meet Rama in battle. Kumbhakarna's attack is fierce, but Rama's arrows are able to slice off his arms, and then his legs. Kumbhakarna keeps on attacking until Rama finally cuts off his head.
p. 307. Indrajit attacks. Ravana now seeks the help of his son Indrajit. Indrajit had won boons from Brahma in the past (Brahma had made promises to Indrajit in obtain Indra's freedom after Indrajit had captured him in battle). Indrajit rides out, invisible, in his tiger-drawn chariot. Indrajit launches a fierce attack. He kills Sugriva, Angada, Nala, Rama and Lakshmana. He wounds Vibhishana and Jambavan and Hanuman. After the slaughter, Indrajit goes and meditates under the banyan tree.
p. 312. Medicine Hill. Vibhishana revives and uses a mantra to heal his wound. He finds Hanuman alive, and the wounded Jambavan. Jambavan sends Hanuman to fetch medicinal herbs from Medicine Hill in the Himalya mountains. Hanuman brings back the whole hill, and as he flies the hill heats up, causing the medicines to steam and diffuse through the air. The medicines revive Rama and his allies. Rama regrets the danger facing his friends and orders Sugriva to go back to Kishkindha. Sugriva refuses, and the allies remain by Rama's side.
p. 316. Trijata and Sita. Trijata hears the rumor that Indrajit has killed Rama and his allies. She suspects that this is not really the case, and tries to assure Sita. The rakshasis take Sita out in Pushpaka to view the battlefield, and Sita is ready to despair. Trijata remembers that the Pushpaka chariot cannot carry a widow, so she concludes that they are seeing only an illusion on the battlefield: Trijata is convinced that Rama cannot be dead. Trijata sees Hanuman bearing the mountain, and Sita smells the medicines. Sita explains that it is Hanuman's love for Rama that allows him to accomplish such great feats.
p. 317. Indrajit and the phantom Sita. Ravana asks Indrajit for his help again. Indrajit says that Dharma is on Rama's side, but he agrees to help his father. This time he creates a phantom Sita and pretends to kill her in front of Hanuman. Hanuman despairs, but Vibhishana is sure that this is only another of Indrajit's illusions.
p. 320. Indrajit and Lakshmana. Vibhishana uses his powers to reveal Indrajit's hiding place, and Lakshmana attacks him there. Indrajit challenges Lakshmana to single combat and after a long fight Lakshmana uses Agastya's arrow to slay Indrajit. Śuka tells Ravana that Indrajit is dead, and Ravana weeps for his son. It is now time for Ravana to go to war himself.
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: January 15, 2005 1:35 AM