Shatashloki 23: Rama kills Tataka and Subahu while injuring Marica

Vishwamitra continued, “Rama, long ago, due to the grace of Lord Brahma, aYaksha called Suketu was blessed with a daughter Tataka, who had in her the strength of a thousand elephants. She was exquisitely beautiful. She married Sunda and begot a son Maricha.

Once, Sunda harassed Maharishi Agastya. The sage cursed him which led to his instant death. To avenge the death of her husband, the enraged Tataka, along with her son Maricha, rushed to attack the sage. At this, the sage cursed her son, “May you transform into a wicked demon (rakshasa)”. With this Tataka was even further infuriated. At this, the sage cursed her, “Turn into an ugly terrible demoness”.

From then on, Tataka no longer adheres to dharma. Without any reason she destroyed these townships of Malada and Kurusha, terrorized people and mercilessly devoured many innocent persons. Rama, kill this demoness and restore dharma to this land”.

Ever-compassionate Rama began to ponder whether it was appropriate to kill a woman. Sensing his conflict, Vishwamitra clarified to him the subtle aspects of dharma and said, “Tataka is a demoness. She does not have the slightest essence of a woman in her.”

Hearing the words of this sage, Rama instantly readied his weapon and pulled its string. Hearing the loud thunderous twang, which echoed across the vast forest, Tataka trembled. In mad rage, she rushed in the direction of the sound, creating a dust storm as she ran. The entire path was covered in dust. She saw Rama and Lakshmana and showered a rain of huge rocks upon them. In anger, Rama used his arrows too chop both her hands. Lakshmana chopped off her nose and ears. Undeterred, Tataka made herself invisible, resorted to sorcery and continued to attack the brothers. She continued to rain gigantic rocks upon them. Standing amidst this rock shower, Rama steadied his bow and hit her with his powerful arrow which caused her instant death.

All the Devatas accompanied by Lord Indra arrived there and showered praises upon Rama. Lord Indra saluted Maharishi Vishwamitra and said, “O great sage, Rama has to carry out a very specific divine deed. Hence please impart to him the knowledge of weaponry in entirety”. Saying so Indra disappeared.

Agreeing to the command of the Lord, early next morning, Vishwamitra imparted to Rama this knowledge of weaponry in totality.  Thereafter they resumed their journey and soon afterwards sighted the Siddha ashrama. Vishwamitra said, “This is the ashram of Vamana murti. After gifting away the three planes (worlds) to Indra, Lord Vamana resided here for sometime. This is the place where I am conducting my yagna. The demons Maricha and Subahu are creating obstacles for my yagna. You please kill them and thus ensure the success of my yagna.”

Rama and Lakshmana rested for that day. Early next morning, the yagna commenced. The smoke of the homa enveloped the entire place and began to spread in all directions. The sight of this smoke incensed the demons Maricha and Subahu and they rushed to the homa place. With their bows readied, Rama and Lakshmana were awaiting the arrival of these demons. The demons began to shower large quantities of blood into the sacrificial altar.

Angered at this, Rama fired his manavastra (weapon) at Maricha. At unimaginable speed the arrow took Maricha and threw him 100 yojanas away into the ocean. Maricha did not die. He was swirled round and round in the skies and forcefully thrown into the ocean. To Maricha, it was as if he had lost his life itself. He could not even return from here. After hitting Maricha, the next instant, Rama picked the weapon Agneya astra and attacked Subahu with it. Subahu was instantaneously killed.

The hordes of demons who witnessed this, dispersed in different directions. Using the powerful and extra-ordinary weapon Vayuvya astra Rama killed them all. In this manner, Vishwamitra’s yagna was successfully conducted. Vishwamitra praised Rama profusely.


Om Seetaramabhyaam namaha.

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