Mythstories Mythstories

Nala's Causeway

automata of Hanuman's Leap by John Grayson

When Surgriva and Rama heard the news all was forgiven and every energy was put into planning the forthcoming attack. A great army of monkeys and bears marched towards the ocean. One of their number, Nala, was a son of the architect god and on their arrival he set about building a great causeway to Lanka. The army advanced, victory was to be theirs.

Ravana saw the approaching legions and called to his brothers and son to prepare to fight. His youngest brother, Vibishana, would have nothing to do with Ravana's fight; he left the city and went to Rama. Rama's friends feared him as a spy but Rama protected him and took him by his side. Vibishana told Rama all Ravana's strengths and weaknesses and in return was promised the throne of Lanka when the battle was done.

Ravana's second brother, Kumbhakarna, was an awesome giant who slept for six months to wake for only one day. On hearing of the attack he rose up and spitting arrows and flames attacked the invaders. The smaller bears and monkeys were terrified when they saw him approaching but he was no match for Rama, who let fly one of the god's arrows and struck off his head.

Ravana was enraged. He called his son Indrajita to prepare for battle. Indrajita was a mighty warrior, indeed he had once defeated Indra, the god of heaven, in combat to earn his name. Lord Brahma had paid dearly for Indra's return, as long as Indrajita paid tribute with sacrifices to the fire god Agni he could use that great god's chariot in battle, which would make him invisible to all his enemies. Indrajita would be invincible whenever he rode in Agni's chariot.

Indrajita flew at Rama's army letting loose thunderbolts, spears, arrows and venom: the effect was awful. Even the noble warriors Rama and Lakshmana were powerless against this invisible force; they did not know where to direct their arrows. After parrying Indrajita's deadly weapons Rama called out to Lakshmana telling him to feign death, as this would surely abate Indrajita's attack, he would return to Ravana with tales of his victory. At nightfall as Indrajita returned to a hero's welcome at the great palace of Lanka all Rama's army lay about the field of battle wounded and dying, calling out for aid.

Hanuman still having strength took a mighty leap; the army needed healing herbs from the Himalayas. He broke off a mountain peak and putting it upon his back leapt back to the battlefield. Just the smell of the aromatic herbs began to revive the army and in no time they were back to their former strength.

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