Shatashloki 51: The sages in Dandakaranya beseech Rama to destroy demons


Vasata stasya rāmasya vane vanacaraissaha

ŗṣayo bhyāgaman sarve vadhāyāsura-rakṣasām.

Meaning– When Rama was residing in Sarabhanga Maharishi’s ashram, the saints who residing nearby, approached Rama and requested him to destroy the demons who were troubling them and to give them relief.


During this period of exile, whenever Rama visited the hermitage of any great sage, the saints who lived in the nearby territories used to approach him in large groups and list out the atrocities of the demons and how they were harassing them. They would request Rama to relieve them from this torture. Just with the vision (darshan) of Rama, they would feel comforted. The confidence that such difficult days were about to end, would surge in them. Even those ascetics, who were suffering the most in the hands of the demons, would return happily reassured of their longevity.

Undoubtedly a divine secret rests behind all this. Else, why would so many ascetics approach Rama and seek the same thing? The divine secret was the destruction of the demons in the hands of Rama.

A huge difference exists between demons such as asuras and rākṣasas. Kabandha and others were asuras. Ravana and his group were rakshasas. Those who misused the powers acquired through yoga and penance (tapas), consumed human flesh and indulged in heinous atrocities were termed as rākṣasas. ‘Asu’ means life force and ‘ra’ means to pull. Hence those who pulled away the life force of others were Asuras.

In those days, the population of both these types of demons was very high. Having secured the protection of Ravana, who was invincible, these asuras and rākṣasās derived great pleasure in tormenting every person they came across. Unhesitatingly they chewed and gulped down any person who resisted their atrocities.  They damaged and destroyed hermitages when they passed by. They prevented sages from conducting any Yagnas and Yaagas and caused many obstacles in their mission.

These demons were itching to fight, but the Devatas (Gods) with whom they wanted to fight, were invisible to their eyes. To force the Devatas to descend, it was essential to torture sages and saints. The holy offerings made through Yagnas and Yāgas (sacrificial rituals) is the only food consumed by the Devatas. Therefore, it was essential to ensure obstruction to the proper completion of these homas and yagnas.  With this, the Devatas would be starved for food. The demons derived great delight in thus taking revenge upon the Devatas.

With this plan in mind, these demons mercilessly tortured all those who indulged in conducting Yagnas and Yāgas, not only on earth, but in all the three planes of existence. They mainly targeted the the sages, Gandharvas, Yakshas (celestial beings) and the Brahmins.

Demon Ravana had very intelligently sought a boon that he could not be killed by any celestial beings such as Yaksha, Gandharva, Devata, rakshasas, asuras, Garuda and other heavenly spirits.   Contemptuous of men, he did not seek invincibility from them. Herein lied the trick. That is why Paramatma had to incarnate as a human being.

Ravana, who had thus secured invincibility from all the powerful forces, now offered protection to all demons in all planes of existence. This backing from Ravana made the demons ruthless. They recollected all the past defeats they had suffered in the hands of the Devatas and realized that this was the most opportune time to settle scores. They wrecked havoc in all the three planes (lokas). On earth, they targeted the saints and ascetics who were highly devoted to the Gods.

The saints who were all knowing, knew that the Supreme Lord had incarnated as Rama and that all the rakshasas including Ravana, would meet their end in His hands. So, with the aim of securing the welfare of the world, all of them gathered together and approached Rama when he was staying at the hermitage of Sage Sharabhanga. There they beseeched Him to destroy the demons and to save them.

Rama was very well aware of the reason behind this appeal made to him. The decision to destroy the demons was made while he was in Vaikuntha itself. Towards this, Maharishi Agastya who was also all-knowing, gifted him with those powerful weapons. For this reason, Rama was very happy to receive them.


Om Seeta Ramabhayaam Namaha.

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