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p. 561


"Markandeya said, 'Learning that Kumbhakarna had with his followers, fallen in battle as also that great warrior Prahasta, and Dhumraksha too of mighty energy, Ravana then addressed his heroic son Indrajit saying, 'O slayer of foes, slay thou in battle Rama and Sugriva and Lakshmana. My good son, it was by thee that this blazing fame of mine had been acquired by vanquishing in battle that wielder of the thunderbolt, the thousand-eyed Lord of Sachi! Having the power of appearing and vanishing at thy will, slay thou, O smiter of foes, my enemies by means, O thou foremost of all wielders of weapons, of thy celestial arrows received as boons (from the gods)! Rama and Lakshmana and Sugriva are incapable of enduring the bare touch of thy weapons. What shall I say, therefore, of their followers? That cessation of hostilities which could not be brought about by either Prahasta or Kumbhakarna in battle, be it thine, O mighty-armed one, to bring about! Slaying my enemies with all their army by means of thy keen-edged shafts, enhance my joy to-day, O son, as thou didst once before by vanquishing Vasava!' Thus addressed by him. Indrajit said--So be it,--and encased in mail he quickly ascended his chariot, and proceeded, O king, towards the field of battle. And then that bull amongst Rakshasas loudly announcing his own name, challenged Lakshmana endued with auspicious marks, to a single combat. And Lakshmana, thus challenged, rushed towards that Rakshasa, with his bow and arrows, and striking terror into his adversary's heart by means of the flapping of his bow-string on the leathern case of his left hand. And the encounter that took place between those warriors that defied each other's prowess and each of whom was desirous of vanquishing the other, and both of whom were conversant with celestial weapons, was terrible in the extreme. But when the son of Ravana found that he could not by his arrows gain any advantage over his adversary, that foremost of mighty warriors mustered all his energy. And Indrajit then began to hurl at Lakshmana with great force numberless javelins. The son of Sumitra, however, cut them into fragments by means of his own keen-edged arrows. And those javelins, thus cut into pieces by the keen-edged arrows of Lakshmana, dropped down upon the ground. Then the handsome Angada, the son of Vali, taking up a large tree, rushed impetuously at Indrajit and struck him with it on the head. Undaunted at this, Indrajit of mighty energy sought to smite Angada with a lance. Just at that juncture, however, Lakshmana cut into pieces the lance taken up by Ravana's son. The son of Ravana then took up a mace and struck on the left flank that foremost of monkeys, the heroic Angada who was then staying close beside him. Angada, the powerful son of Vali, little recking that stroke, hurled at Indrajit a mighty Sal stem. And hurled in wrath by Angada for the destruction of Indrajit, that tree, O son of Pritha, destroyed Indrajit's chariot along with his horses and charioteer. And thereupon jumping from his horseless and driverless car, the son of Ravana disappeared from sight, O king, by aid of his powers of illusion. And beholding that Rakshasa, abundantly endued with powers of illusion, disappear so suddenly, Rama

p. 562

proceeded towards that spot and began to protect his troops with care. Indrajit, however, with arrows, obtained as boons from the gods, began to pierce both Rama and mighty Lakshmana in every part of their bodies. Then the heroic Rama and Lakshmana both continued to contend with their arrows against Ravana's son who had made himself invisible by his powers of illusion. But Indrajit continued to shower in wrath all over those lions among men his keen-edged shafts by hundreds and thousands. And seeking that invisible warrior who was ceaselessly showering his arrows, the monkeys penetrated into every part of the firmament, armed with huge masses of stone. Them as well as the two brothers, however, the invisible Rakshasa began to afflict with his shafts. Indeed, the son of Ravana, concealing himself by his powers of illusion, furiously attacked the monkey host. And the heroic brothers Rama and Lakshmana, pierced all over with arrows, dropped down on the ground like the Sun and the Moon fallen down from the firmament.'"

Next: Section CCLXXXVII