Shatashloki 55: Rama kills demons Khara and Dūshana

Tathas śūrphaṇakhaāvākyāt udyuktān sarva rākshasān

Kharaṃ triśirasam caiva dūṣaṇaṃ caiva rākṣasam

Nijaghāna raṇe rāmaḥ teṣāṃ caiva padānugān.

Meaning – After seeing the disfigured Surphanaka and hearing her woes, demons Khara and Dooshana were angered, and together with their entire army of soldiers attacked Rama who killed them all at one go.


Wailing and screaming horridly in a manner that violently shook all the mountains, Soorphanaka with the blood dripping from her nose and ears ran from there and appeared before her brother Khara. She narrated about Rama, Seeta and Lakshmana and the treatment that was meted out to her by them. She declared that as a vengeance for this treatment, she wanted to drink their blood.

Incensed with Rama and Lakshmana, Khara immediately ordered 14 ferocious and mighty rakshasas to go and kill Rama. Soorphanaka personally led the way towards Panchavati and pointed out to them the cottage of Rama and Lakshmana. Seeing the demons at his doorstep Rama instructed Lakshmana to take care of Seeta while he tackled them.

Soorphanaka was cheering the demons and instigating them towards the war. The 14 demons rushed towards Rama who was standing there all alone, and attacked him simultaneously by throwing upon Him 14 powerful spears. Rama, the brave warrior, took up his bow and suddenly sent forth 14 powerful golden arrows, which went forth and shredded the 14 spears into pieces in a matter of a few seconds. Further these arrows pierced the chests of those ferocious demons who, like huge trees, crashed and fell to the earth instantly. Blood was gushing from their bodies. All the demons were dead and Shoorphanaka was alone in the battlefield.

Letting out a terrible roar, in seething anger, Shoorphanaka fled from there. Seeing his sister who was approaching him in uncontrollable anger and grief, Khara was surprised. He said, “My dear sister, just a few minutes ago you set out from here with 14 of my brave warriors. Why have you returned so soon? Why are you inconsolably grieving?”

Shoorphanaka said, “Brother, what do you know about the might of this Rama? He has killed all the warriors. You should set out right now and kill this Rama who has entered our Dandaka forest. If you do not kill that enemy Rama now then, here in front of you I shall give up my life”. This way, and in many other ways she persuaded and instigated Khara to go to war with Rama.

This declaration of Shoorpahanaka made in front of the entire assembly of demons was very embarrassing to Khara. He declared instantly, “Shoorphanaka, I will not express my anger in wasteful words. I will prove it through my actions. I will avenge your defeat right now itself”.

He immediately called for 14000 demons to assemble then and there. He mounted the magnificent chariot that was brought by Dooshana. Leading these 14000 warrior demons, Khara majestically set out for a war with Rama. At the time of setting out for the war there were many inauspicious and evil omens that were very demoralizing to the army. Yet undaunted, Khara enthusiastically motivated and cheered the demons and took them along. Khara himself experienced ill-omens. His left shoulder vibrated. His eyes were filled with water. He was tormented by unbearable headache. Yet he laughed them off and with full arrogance and confidence marched forward.

Around the same time, the right shoulder of Rama vibrated. He could see many auspicious good omens. He said to Lakshmana, “Take Seeta to the cave within the forest. You guard her zealously. This is the time for war. I will go and face the demons”.

The fact that Rama was going to wage a war with the demons caused great excitement and commotion in heaven. All the Gods were eagerly witnessing the war from their plane. This was a war in which one man faced fourteen thousand demons.

The demons bombarded Rama and attacked him from all directions with spears, swords, boulders, rocks and the like. Rama adjusted the string of his bow and moved in a circular direction, letting out his arrows. Dooshana ran towards him in rage and Rama directed his arrow towards Dooshana and killed him. He thereafter killed many army generals and other leaders. Step by step he eliminated all the demons. Thereafter Trishiras, the three-headed demon attacked Rama. Using 3 arrows, Rama knocked out all the three heads of Trishiras and killed him. Now only Khara remained. He was demoralized by the fact that mighty and cruel demons such as Dooshana and Trishiras were killed. He shivered inwardly. Yet he fought unabatedly.

After a duel, Rama threw Khara to the ground and said, “O demon, King Bharata has instructed me to destroy all the sinners who are torturing the great saints here. All the great saints that you had earlier killed are now seated in their divine planes and will enjoy your destruction”. Saying so, Rama used the arrows given by Indra and killed Khara.

Through the usage of the words ‘King Bharata’ Rama highlighted the righteous manner (dharmic) in which Bharata was ruling Ayodhya. He even displayed the deep love that he had towards his brother. This war has many dharma sookshmas embedded within it.

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