Valmiki Ramayana

End of Ravan

Ravan was also ready in his huge chariot. The two armies arrayed themselves in special fronts. Ram and Ravan approached one another and halted at a distance. Conches and trumpets were blown, and the sound generated terror in the hearts of the opponents. Ram and Ravan saluted each other and the last fight began.

Ravan had ten heads which he had obtained as boon for his special worship of God. It also indicated extra intelligence, superhuman strength, and extra pride and ego. It was also suggestive of long life, as every head was compatible with life. Ram and Ravan hurled missiles at each other. Both were able to counter opponents' attacks. When one head of Ravan rolled down, it was replaced by a new one! If one arm of Ravan was cut, it was replaced by another! It was impossible to kill this powerful Rakshas (demon).

Then Ram destroyed Ravan's chariot. But, instead of falling on the ground, Ravan flew high in the sky and started attacking Ram and his men with arrows and maces, and dropped magical fire and stones. Moreover, he took multiple forms to terrorize Ram's army. Some forms were having only head, while others were composed of trunks only!

This "Mayawi Yuddha" -- Illusory War-- posed additional pressure on Ram to select the original Ravan and hit him. The energy was drained out from the tired army men. Arrows and missiles made no impact on Ravan.

Many of the monkeys and bears from Ram's army were disheartened. They were tired and many tried to escape the rain of arrows and fire being poured by Ravan. Ram protected all his men by counter- attacks and by providing special cover against Ravan's attacks.

Laxman, Hanuman, Angad, Sugreev, and Jambuwant all tried their own missiles on mighty Ravan but in vain. When the arrow of Ram failed, how could any other succeed!
The day turned into night and both the armies retreated to their respective camps. The injured were treated with potions and ointments. Ram and Laxman with their associates discussed the way and means to put an end to Ravan. But no definite answer could be had as Ravan was adept in this kind of war games. Moreover, he had the capacity to regenerate any lost part of the body. Death of Ravan was difficult to imagine!

Vibhishan suggests the trick

However, Vibhishan remembered something about his brother -Ravan - that had a great bearing on the outcome of war. He recalled how he once had faintly overheard the weakness in the body of Ravan -- and that weak spot was his umbilicus (middle abdominal region), not head, nor heart, nor neck! If Ram could hit the arrowhead in that localized spot, the life-sustaining nectar would spill and Ravan was sure to die.

Thus, armed with the special knowledge, next day, Ram put an end to Ravan's life with the arrow in his naval. The mightiest king on the earth fell. This brought to an end the clanging of weapons and associated bitterness and ill feelings. The injured Ravan was counting his last breaths. Mandodari came rushing to her injured husband with eyes full of tears and heart filled with unexplainable pathos.

Ram went to her and consoled the lady with soft words of sympathy. He also gave her advice about the impermanence of life and reality of death as the only truth after birth. He proclaimed to her and all the people around that Ravan will be remembered for eternity for his good as well as bad deeds.

Ravan Honoured

Then turning to Laxman, Ram said, "O dear brother, look, the mighty Ravan is lying on his death bed. His knowledge of Vedas and Scripture is beyond doubt. Equally true is the fact that you will not find a more knowledgeable authority on politics, statesmanship, and sociology on the earth today. Please go and get the knowledge from him."
Thus Laxman, sitting at the feet of Ravan, learnt many useful things on diplomacy, politics, tax structure, social reforms, war preparedness and many more from him. When Ravan breathed his last, Ram himself conducted the last rites befitting the grandeur of Brahmin Rakshas King. Thus, one important aspect of the Divine Play - LEELA - enacted by the Lord came to an end.
Ravan and Hanuman, Laxman and Sita, Sugreev and Jambuwant, (and all others) were but the actors playing their allotted or designated role. Nobody is all evil, nobody is all good! The human form by necessity brings weaknesses to the human character. Some appear sinners, some saints! We, as individuals have to learn the Truth of life and make it worthwhile by performing worthy and noble actions! Do not judge others. Judge yourselves impartially.

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