Finally Hanuman arrived on the shores of Lanka. There he saw a magnificent city and wonderful forests. Hanuman decided to take a smaller form and went to one of the gates, which was guarded by Lankini. She rebuked Hanuman and told him that she had a blessing from Lord Brahma that no one can pass her. She slapped Hanuman. Since Hanuman was on a mission, he slapped her back and she fell to the ground. She then told Hanuman that Lord Brahma told her that when a monkey comes and slaps you that is the indication that soon Ravana will be destroyed.
Hanuman waited till it was night because he wanted to see as much he could so he could report nicely to Ramacandra. He took a small size and like a cat he was roaming around. He could not believe what he was seeing. He saw millions of demons engaged in many sinful activities. He was amazed what was going on in Lanka. But his mind was fixed on finding Sita.
Eventually he came to the palace of Ravana. He saw thousands of ladies in that palace and then in a special room Hanuman saw Ravana lying on bed with ladies sleeping all around. Ravana was very strong and beautiful. His body had scars of Indra’s thunderbolts. Hanuman looked at Mandodari and thought if she was Sita but then he thought that it is not possible because she cannot be so peaceful sleeping next to Ravana.
He kept searching and searching. By this time morning was coming and he came to Ravana’s own garden within his palace, the Ashoka Vana and sitting under a tree was the most beautiful lady in all of creation. Her body was covered with dust and her clothes were all soiled. She was weeping incessantly crying out the names of Lord Rama. Hanuman ji understood that she is Sita.
As the dawn broke, Ravana came to see her and somehow try to convince her to submit to his will. But Sita was steadfast in her vows of chastity. Sita was so disgusted, she said, “Your trying to enjoy me is like an ignorant fool trying to lick honey on a razor’s edge.” She further said that his attempts to enjoy her are like taking sharp needles and piercing through the eyes.
Hearing al this Ravana was outraged. He told her, ”I have given you one year to submit to me. Ten months have already passed. If by the end of the year you do not agree then I’ll drink your blood and eat your flesh as breakfast. He then told the rakshasis to harass her and do anything necessary to make her submit to him. As those rakshasis harassed her, Sita simply wept crying out the names of Rama. Hanuman seeing all this wanted to annihilate them all but this was not his mission, he had come to give Rama’s message to Sita.
At that time Trijata, the daughter of Vibhisana came and told that she had a dream last night and in that dream she saw Rama in brilliant while clothes with Sita, riding on an effulgent chariot drawn by while horses. She also saw Ravana dressed in black asses and his chariot and all other relatives and friends were sinking in a heap of stool. The rakshasis were expert in interpreting dreams and they went to Ravana to tell him what they had heard.
Hanuman meets Sita
Meanwhile Hanuman was wondering how to approach Sita. So he very intelligently began to recite Lord Rama’s pastimes and hearing the recitation Sita looked up and she saw, in the tree, a small monkey sitting and offering obeisances. Sita became afraid and asked him whether he is Ravana in disguise. Hanuman explained to her that he was servant and a messenger of Lord Ramacandra. I have come to tell you that Rama is waiting for you, he sent me to search for you and as evidence He gave me this ring to show to you.
This was the ring which Sita gave to Rama at the time of Their marriage. When Sita saw the ring, she put it on her heart and started crying. Sita told Hanuman her plight and Hanuman told Sita about Rama’s plight. Hanuman said please give me something that I can present to Rama on your behalf. Sita said I will give you something in the form of a message. There is a story that no one in the world knows except Rama and me.
Sita narrated the story, “When we were living together in Chitakot. One day on the banks of Mandakani Ganga we were sitting on a rock and enjoying the beautiful ambience. I told Rama that this place is more beautiful than Ayodhya. At that time Indra’s son assumed the form of a demoniac crow and came to test us. Right in front of Rama that crow attacked me. In anger Rama picked up a blade of grass and threw it towards the crow. The crow ran all over the universe but nobody could give him shelter. Finally the crow came back and took shelter of Lord Ramacandra and begged forgiveness. Rama gave shelter to the crow. Rama told him, “I cannot release a weapon without doing something.” So painlessly He took out one of the crow’s eyes. And Lord stated that anyone who takes shelter of me with sincere heart, irrespective of their past deeds, I must protect them and give them shelter.” Sita told Hanuman to narrate this story to Lord Rama and from her soiled cloth she took out a dazzling yellow jewel and asked him to give it to Rama.
Then Hanuman bowed his head and asked her to climb on his back and he will carry her across the ocean. Now at time Hanuman was just a tiny monkey and Sita wondered how he could possibly do that. Hanuman increased his size. But Sita told him there are many reasons why I cannot come with you. When you are flying over the ocean, the strong winds will make me fall off and I’ll be eaten by the dangerous aquatics in the ocean. If Ravana’s army sees you taking me on your back they will attack you and how will you fight all of them with me on the back. Besides that I had vowed never to touch any man except my beloved Rama. And most important of all is, for Rama’s fame to be known forever it is necessary for Him to come and conquer Ravana. With this message and the gift Sita asked Hanuman to return to Rama.
Hanuman burns Lanka Hanuman went back to his little monkey size and he wanted to do some extra service. He wanted to see the power of Ravana’s forces and he wanted to see Ravana face to face and reveal his heart.
He started to destroy the Ashoka Vana. When the rakshasis saw this they reported it to Ravana. Ravana sent 80,000 soldiers to fight with Hanuman. He picked up an iron rod from a nearby fence and began to fight with the army and in no time he killed them all. He then pulverized a beautiful temple which was very dear to Ravana. Then Ravana sent Jambumali and Hanuman slayed him too.
Then Ravana sent one of the prince. His name was Aksha. Ravana had personally trained him in war skills. A great fight ensued between Hanuman and Aksha and ultimately Hanuman picked him and whirled him around and smashed him on the ground. He was dead. When Ravana heard this he was struck with sorrow and fury. He then sent Indrajit and a formidable battle took place between Hanuman and Indrajit. Indrajit released a brahmastra which was predominated by a ‘naga’. Hanuman decided to be voluntarily defeated by Indrajit. He wanted to see Ravana. So Indrajit captures Hanuman and brought him in the court.
Hanuman began to chastise Ravana. He said, “You are a coward, why didn’t you face Rama. I am just a monkey and there are millions more powerful than me. Above all the Supreme Personality of Godhead Lord Ramacandra is there and He will destroy you.” Ravana could not tolerate this and he ordered the soldiers to kill him. At that time Vibhisana intervened and said that according to the codes of ksatriya conduct a messenger can never be killed. You can beat him or punish him in any other way but you cannot kill him. So Ravana ordered that Hanuman’s tail be put on fire. They wrapped a large quantity of cloth around his tail, soaked it in oil and put it on fire.
When Hanuman’s tail was put on fire, he felt that fire to be cool and refreshing. He immediately understood that it is only because of Mother Sita’s prayers. He then reduced in size and slipped right out of the ropes and began to jump from one building to another. Within a short time all the buildings were on fire. In any situation a devotee sees how he can serve Lord Sri Krishna.
Ravana had ordered to put Hanuman’s tail on fire and now the same fire had burned entire Lanka. This is a principle of dharma. When we do something against someone who is dear to the Lord that very thing we do, will undo us. For every action there is a reaction either in this life or the next. Any pain we cause to others, through our words or through our actions, it is going to come back and burn us. That is the law. From another perspective of the devotee, whatever be the situation he is always thinking how to use it for Lord Sri Krishna’s service.
After burning Lanka Hanuman puts off the fire on his tail. Then he went to the top of the mountain and shouted “Jai Sri Rama” and leaped back. Meanwhile Angada and others were waiting anxiously and suddenly they saw in the sky the form of Hanuman roaring the names of Rama. They knew by the sound of his voice that he was victorious.
He told the whole story to Angada and his colleagues. All the monkey were very happy and they started for Kishkindha. While on the way they came to Madhuvan forest. This was Sugriva’s favorite forest. The monkeys began to destroy the entire forest and when the guard came to stop them, they slapped the guard. The guard went to Sugriva to inform what was happening. Sugriva said that if they are so jubilant means they must have found Sita. He asked them to meet Rama and myself.
Along with Sugriva they went to the top of the mountain called Prasavana or Malyavanta, where Rama was residing. Rama was so very eager to hear. Hanuman told him the entire story. Rama with tears in His eyes and heart melting listened to everything. Hanuman told Him the message of Sita. Then he told about his meeting with Ravana and the burning of the city. Then he gave the yellow jewel to Rama. Lord Rama said to Hanuman, Indra gave this jewel to Maharaj Janaka and Maharaj Janaka, on the day of our marriage, gave this jewel to Sita.”
Ultimate reward Rama was overcome with emotions and He began to praise Hanuman for his valor. Rama said, “Hanuman, there is no devotee so pure and so great as yourself. What Sita said is true. How is it possible for anyone to cross over that ocean. How is it possible for anyone to face Ravana and his armies and survive. But you did it all for me, out of love. Only Garuda or Vayu could have possibly done it and you did it. Hanuman you have gone way beyond the call of duty. Your surrender, your love, you are willing to take all risk, just conquered My heart. When someone comes to give such good news, it is our duty to reward them. But I am living in exile in the forest. I have nothing to give you. All I have Hanuman is My profuse gratitude and My infinite love in the form of My embrace.”
Then Lord Rama, from His heart of hearts, He put His arms around Hanuman and pressed Hanuman intimately to His own heart. Hanuman considered this as the supreme fortune. Lord Caitanya taught,
na dhanam na janam na sundarim kavitam va jagad-isa kamaye
mama janmani janmanisvare bhavatad bhaktir ahaituki tvayi
“I do not want wealth or the beautiful company of the opposite sex, nor do I want power, great scholarship, fame. I don’t even want liberation from suffering. I don’t want mystic powers. I only want one thing, let me by your servant birth after birth after birth.”
One of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura’s final instruction to all of us is that our supreme aspiration in life should be to become the dust at the feet of Sri Rupa and Sri Raghunatha Das Goswami. That means to see that the greatest honor, the greatest privilege and the greatest of all goals is to be the servant of the servant of the servant of the servant of the Lord’s devotees.
In that embrace Lord Sri Ramacandra awarded Hanuman the ultimate position of the servant of the Lord. The supreme perfection of everything we do is according to how we please Lord Sri Krishna, the Supreme Lord. Hanuman conquered Ramacandra’s heart. This is the power of devotion. Lord Krishna confessed to gopis, “Your love for Me is so pure, you have given up everything for My pleasure. I have no power to repay you. Even with all that I have and all the material and spiritual worlds for an entire lifetime of Brahma, I cannot repay you for your love. Please just accept that love itself as the compensation.”
This is the supreme greatness of the Lord. He is atmaram, completely self-satisfied. But He was conquered and feels Himself indebted and unable to pay the devotees for their love.
In Sri Rama’s embrace of Hanuman He revealed this secret of all secrets, the highest revelation of the Vedas, that Bhakti that culminates in Prema. Undivided, unmotivated pure love conquers the unconquerable. The embrace of the Lord is the eternal liberation and eternal satisfaction of the soul. Nothing else could give such happiness. That is what Rama bestowed upon Hanuman.
Then Lord Rama looked around to all the monkeys around and expressed His concern, “how is it going to be possible for all of us to cross the ocean.” Sugriva said, “We have faith, we will do it. Have no hesitation be happy, let us go.” On Rama’s order, the vanara dynasty marched to the sea, when Lord Rama saw the sea, there was no end to it. It seemed forever. His lamentation in separation from Sita filled His heart and He was thinking how to cross the sea.
When Ravana’s spies headed by Saardula reported to him that there are countless monkeys assembled on the shore across the ocean, Ravana decided to have special war council. He called all his generals and commanders and explained the situation to them.
Ravana said, “A first class leader does not make a decision without consulting, with open mind, wise experienced ministers, friends who have been faithful throughout life and family members who have proven their love and after taking that council and seriously considering every word of it depending upon the higher power of God or providence for right direction. A second class leader with his own intelligence searches his own heart what’s best to do and then after considering everything takes full responsibility. A third class leader is one who hastily attacks or does something serious without due consideration of the pros and cons.” The ministers were very enthusiastic. One by one they stood up, raised their weapons and began to glorify Ravana and their own prowess. They were hungry for war.
Finally Vibhisana stood up and spoke the truth. He said, “In the battle the virtuous are empowered to have ultimate victory and the sinful are doomed to defeat. Ramacandra is supremely virtuous and rakshasas are sinful. We cannot stand before Him. These men are not your friends. All of these generals are simply telling you what you want to hear and not speaking the truth.”
Vibhisana then told Ravana about Khar and Dushana, when they attacked Ramacandra. Lord Ramacandra single handedly destroyed their entire army of 14,000 soldiers in just two hours. He is not a mortal, Ramacandra is the Supreme Lord and His wrath can destroy the whole universe.
Vibhisana said, “Stealing Sita devi was sinful. Please return Sita devi to Ramacandra or we will perish. Ramacandra will forgiveyou. Just beg forgiveness and return Sita otherwise you and your entire dynasty will be destroyed and you will be the cause of it.”
Next day morning Vibhisana again went to meet Ravana and tried to counsel him Ravana was very disturbed. He said to Vibhisana, “Why do you question my prowess. No one can defeat me. I will defeat Rama. Single handedly I can wipe out the entire monkey army. Why do you question me? I cannot give Sita. There will be war.” Vibhisana was devastated. There is nothing else he could do. But still he was going to try.
Ravana then called all his greatest war generals in the assembly hall. Ravana told them that his heart has been captivated by Sita and he cannot give her up. He told them a lie. He said that Sita promised him that if Rama does not come to take her away within a year then she will be mine.
Someone told him that you have strength of thousands of elephants and Sita is just a little girl, why don’t you enjoy her by force. Ravana then revealed a secret, once he was infatuated by seeing the beauty of heavenly damsel Rambha. He chased after her and forcibly enjoyed her. She went to her husband Nalakuvera. He was so devastated that he cursed me that if I ever try to enjoy any woman without her independent consent, then my head will break into hundreds of pieces. Lord Brahma confirmed this curse upon me. So I cannot enjoy Sita by force. She has to submit to me and she will never submit to me till she has hope that Rama will come to rescue her. Hearing this all the generals gave their full support to Ravana and agreed for war.
At that time Vibhisana stood up and said, “Who has put this venomous serpent around you. Sita is like a serpent; Her charming smile her fangs; Her shapely form is her coils; Her caste faithful love for Lord Ramacandra is like the venomous poison that is going to be the cause of your death. Give up Sita and live. By fighting with Rama you are putting a noose around your own neck.”
At that time Indrajit began to brag about his prowess. Vibhisana chastised Indrajit. When Ravana heard Vibhisana chastising his son, he became furious. He stared into his eyes and said, “It is better to live with a venomous snake then with someone who is taking the shelter of your enemy.”
He then rejected Vibhisana and asked him to get out of Lanka. Lord Sri Krishna says in Bhagavad-Gita, within every heart there is a divine and the demoniac nature by the choices we make and by our own seriousness in our spiritual practice we are meant to cultivate and give strength to our divie nature and subdue this demonic nature that is within us.
Shurpanakha wanted to enjoy Rama and kill Sita devi, Ravana wanted to enjoy Sita and kill Rama and Vibhisana wanted to return Sita to Rama and offer loving devotion. They are living in the same place. In a similar way in our own hearts we have Shurpanakha’s tendencies, Ravana’s tendencies and deep down we have our eternal natural Vibhisana’s tendencies. We can cleanse the heart of the anarthas of Ravana and Shurpanakha by taking shelter of Lord Himself and in this age of Kali the Lord is there to annihilate these demons within and empower the divinity within us by the chanting of the holy names.
After being chastised by Ravana, Vibhisana and his four faithful ministers ascended in the sky. From there he looked down and spoke these final words to his brother, “I have honestly tried to help you. But I cannot tolerate harsh words against me, nor can I tolerate your sinful attachment to Sita. On this very day I am going to leave behind my family, wealth and everything I have and I renounce you.
Sugriva and other monkey soldiers saw Vibhisana and his four ministers in the sky and were about to attack them. Vibhisana said that he had come to take shelter of Lord Ramacandra. Sugriva went to Lord Rama and informed him about Vibhisana. Lord Rama asked them what He should do with Vibhisana. Sugriva said, they are demons, by nature they are deceitful and they cannot be trusted. Jambavan had similar opinion. Finally Lord asked Hanuman for his opinion.
Hanuman said, “Vibhisana is honest. While in Lanka he was constantly advising Ravana to give back Sita devi. We should immediately accept him to be one of our family members. He wants shelter, please give him shelter.” Lord Ramacandra very much appreciated Hanuman’s words.
Lord Rama’s vow
Lord Ramacandra then spoke His immortal words, “Anyone whoever they may be, who sincerely take shelter of Me and honestly says, even once, that from this day on my Lord I take Your shelter, I have to give him shelter. I declare this vow before all of you. Even if Ravana himself were to come to me today and with a sincere and honest heart seek shelter of Me, I will give him shelter.”
Upon hearing this all the monkeys were weeping in ecstasy to see the nature of Lord Ramacandra’s mercy. They all shouted “Jai Sri Rama”.
What it really means by surrender. It is not just our words. To take shelter means to sincerely repent for one’s past misgivings, to vow to give up one’s misbehavior and to give one’s heart and take shelter of the Lord who has appeared in His holy names:
Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare |
Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare ||
Then Vibhisana came down from the sky and surrendered his life to Lord Ramacandra. Rama told him that in days to come He will conquer Ravana and he would be the future king. Lord then coronated Vibhisana as the king of Lanka here – Kothandaramaswamy Temple. Lord Ramacandra asked Vibhisana, how to cross the ocean and Vibhisana told Him that He should ask Samudra dev for help.
Meanwhile Ravana sent Shuka to somehow convince Sugriva to give up Rama’s side. When Shuka came in the form of a bird and delivered this message, all the monkeys became enraged and they started beating him. Shuka cried out for Rama and Rama called for him. Rama said, he has taken shelter of Me. Release him. Shuka went back and told Ravana what had happened and requested him that he should better give Sita devi back or else Lanka will be destroyed.
Requesting Samudra dev
On Vibhisana’s advice that He should ask Samudra dev’s help in order to cross the ocean to Lanka, Lord Ramacandra came to the shore of the ocean at this very place in Thirupullani and began to meditate upon the god of the sea, Samudra dev. He laid on ‘kusha’ grass in meditation. Lord Ramacandra is the Supreme Absolute truth and He is teaching the most exemplary behavior which is to honor people who have high responsibility.
Lord Caitanya said that the following of Vaishnava etiquette is the ornament that makes the devotee beautiful in the eyes of Lord Sri Krishna. Unless the Lord reveals it we would never understand what Vaishnava etiquette is. Lord Caitanya, while embarking on His South India tour, took blessing and permission of all the Vaishnavas. In every moment of Sri Caitanya Caritamrta and Sri Caitanya Bhagavat there is this beautiful jewel of Vaishnava etiquette which is based on humility, respect and an eagerness to serve and receive blessings and give blessings.
Lord Ramacandra laid on the ‘kusha’ grass meditating and praying in His heart for Samudra dev, the king of the sea to come before Him to resolve this very serious dilemma. A huge army had assembled on the shore of the ocean but except Hanuman no one could cross the ocean. Rama prayed while fasting for 3 days and nights. But Samudra dev didn’t come. He was not following any etiquette. The core reason why someone makes aparadha is due to arrogance or the false ego. Lord Rama expressed His emotions as the Supreme Personality of Godhead. He turned to Laxmana and said, “This king of ocean is so arrogant. I have been sitting here fasting for three days and three nights and he doesn’t say anything. This is because people who are too much intoxicated by material power and influence don’t take seriously the humble appeals of others. With all humility, politeness and gentleness I have been coming to him. But such a wretched state of consciousness he is in that he is thinking humility is a weakness. He is thinking brute force and harshness is real strength. Arrogant people respect arrogance. But I will devastate his arrogance, on this very day I will dry up the ocean into dry desert.”
Lord Rama was enraged. He took His powerful bow and shot 100 arrows. Within second the sea started to boil. The sea became so agitated and the waves were so huge that even the whales, alligators and sharks were flying in the air and falling back into the ocean.
Rama could not be pacified by Laxmana or the other great sages. Rama invoked the Brahmastra and in fear the sea receded ten miles. At that moment Samudra dev arose from the ocean. He wore beautiful garments and jewels. With all humility he prostrated at the lotus feet of Ramacandra and begged forgiveness. Lord forgave him and gave him shelter.
Rama asked him, “Please tell us how we can cross this ocean.” Samudra dev said that in the monkey army there is Nala, who is the son of Viswakarma, the architect and designer of the demigods. He knows the art of construction and You make him the in charge for building a bridge. Samudra dev assured that no aquatics will disturb the building of the bridge and the stones will float on the waters of the ocean.
Building the sethu (bridge)
Nala was very excited. He called all the leaders of the army and told them what to do. The monkey soldiers began to collect materials for the bridge. They started bringing huge stones, mountain peaks, trunk of trees and started stacking them on the shore. Nala also asked them to collect tons and tons of vines and creepers which would be used to tie the stones together.
According to their particular strength they were bringing entire mountains and under Nala’s direction they began to throw them in the ocean. They had the task of building a bridge 80 miles wide and 800 miles long. On the first day of the construction of the bridge they covered 100 miles and the next day they completed 150 miles. Within 5 days they built a seamless and perfectly symmetrical bridge.
Lord Ramacandra wanted to show the world that if His devotees just put aside their ego for a common cause of serving the Supreme Lord and work together for that cause, there is unlimited divine power that He gives them.
Srila Prabhupada said, “The strength of our society (ISKCON) is our unity.” He quoted, united we stand, divided we fall. He gave the example of how it is easy to break one stick but when they are stacked together they cannot be broken. In the same way on our own, maya will break us but if we are united, united in the service of Lord Sri Krishna, in the service of Guru and Vaishanavas then maya has no power to break us.
One of Srila Prabhupada’s last instruction was, “You can show your love for me by how you cooperate.” It was not only for the purpose of pushing this great movement but it was also out of great compassion for each and every one of us, because we need each other. Yes, whatever differences those monkeys may have had, it did not matter. They had a mission to achieve and it was urgent and they worked together and the Lord empowered them to build the greatest bridge ever made.
Marching to Lanka
Sugriva told Sri Rama that Hanuman will take You on his back and Angada will take Laxmana on his back and we will all follow. Meanwhile Vibhisana and his four ministers were on the other side of Lanka, guarding the bridge. Now these millions of monkeys had no weapons but Ravana’s army had the most sophisticated weapons. According to material considerations there was no possibility of victory for the monkey army. But because they had Lord Ramacandra on their side, their victory was guaranteed. Real victory is not based on material calculations of what we have; it is based on the grace of God.
The monkey army arrived on the shores of Lanka and made their base. Ravana wanted to create fear in the heart of the monkey soldiers. So he asked his rakshasa soldiers to start beating the war drums and create tumultuous sound. But instead of creating fear that sound excited the monkeys and they started roaring loudly. Their roar was so deafening that nobody could hear the sound of the war drums.
Ravana sent two his most confidential men, who were trained in espionage. Their name was Shuka and Sharana. They disguised themselves as monkeys and entered into Rama’s army. As they were wandering through Vibhisana immediately recognized them. The monkey soldiers caught them and started beating them. They cried out, “Rama please save us.” Upon hearing their cries Lord Rama told to release them. He then told Vibhisana to explain their entire plan and whatever else they wanted to know. And tell them to give this message to Ravana, “I am still giving him one more chance. Give back Sita otherwise we are going to destroy him.”
When they returned to Lanka, Ravana asked them what had happened. They explained the entire situation and told Ravana that millions of monkey soldiers have surrounded Lanka. The entire bridge, which is 800 miles and 80 miles wide, is filled with monkeys waiting to get in Lanka. Millions more are waiting on the shore to get on the bridge and reach Lanka. And they are all shouting loudly to kill you. Shuka and Sharana explained the might of Rama and Laxmana. Ravana screamed at them, “You are traitors, I will kill you. I hate you. I could not care less for all the years of service you have done for me. Get out of my sight.”
Ravana wanted to get Sita by another trick. There was one rakshasa who was a magician. He was expert at creating illusions. His name was Vidyujeeva. Ravana had him construct a head that looked just like Rama’s. The next morning Ravana came to Ashoka van and spoke to Sita, “Now you have no reason for not surrendering to me. When the monkey army along with Rama and Laxmana reached on the shore, they were very tired. They all went to sleep and while they were sleeping my army headed by Prahasta attacked them and butchered them all.” Then Ravana uncovered the illusory head of Rama. Upon seeing that, Sita was struck with intense grief and she began to lament and cry. At that time Ravana received a message that war has begun and that he is required on the battlefield.
At that time Sarma, the devoted wife of Vibhisana came to Sita and pacified her. She explained to her that it was Ravana’s trick and that head was an illusory head. Rama is still living and He has crossed the ocean. He is about to attack Ravana and very soon you will be reunited with Rama.
Ravana stood on a wall looking out. At that time Sugriva, who was standing on a mountain with Rama, saw Ravana and could not control his rage. He leaped towards Ravana and a fierce wrestling pursued. They both were very strong and neither could defeat other in physical strength. Sugriva realized that he could not confront Ravana in his supernatural powers, so he jumped back where Rama was. Rama rebuked Sugriva for this hasty step. Sugriva apologized for his act.
The war began and all the while Vibhisana was at Rama’s side giving him valuable advice. After days of battle, Ravana and Lord Ramacandra were face to face in the battlefield.
What a battle that was, they were fighting and fighting for days. The demigods were watching and all the monkey soldiers were watching. Everyone was amazed and wonderstruck. The result of this war was going to decide the future of the universe. Rama decided that it was getting dark and he must kill Ravana. So Rama began to cut his arms and head. But as Rama cut one of his heads another will grow back immediately. Rama was thinking how to kill him. At that time Vibhisana told him that Ravana has a benediction from Brahma. He can be killed only if you dry up the nectar which is there in his heart. Vibhisana reminded Rama to use the weapon which was given to Him by Agastya muni.
Ramacandra invoked the weapon and chanted the Aditya Varna mantra. The shaft of that arrow was presided by Vyu, the plumes by Agni and the tip by Surya. Rama pulled it back, chanted the mantra and released the arrow. A deafening thunder shook the earth. That arrow was effulgent like millions of suns. He blinded all the directions as it soared through the air and struck the chest of Ravana. That arrow dried up the nectar from the heart of Ravana and came out of his chest and went into the earth. Ravana’s mouths vomited blood, his eyes rolled; he spun around in total disorientation and fell from his chariot onto the ground dead.
As soon as Ravana was dead the monkey soldiers began to rejoice and celebrate. On the other hand, Vibhisana, out of natural love for his brother, began to cry. He hated his behavior but he loved him. The quality of a saint is to hate the disease, but love the person suffering from the disease. The disease of ignorance, avidya, which is the cause of all the symptoms that Ravana personified, Lust, envy, anger, pride, greed and illusion. Ravana’s wives, headed by Mandodari, came out running, weeping and crying. Now they were widows.
Rama wanted to pacify Vibhisana. He told him that Ravana died a glorious death. For a kshatriya to die in the battlefield is the fulfillment of their dharma. I killed him with My arrow so he will achieve the highest most auspicious destination. Rama then told Vibhisana to perform the last rites. But Vibhisana was hesitant. He said Ravana was so cruel and caused so much pain to so many people, I cannot perform his final rites Rama said, “All the cruelty and negativity is gone now. The soul is pure and divine. You must help him become liberated forever. Never hold grudge against anyone. Be the instrument of My compassion.”
They put Ravana’s body on the funeral fire and Vibhisana lit it and before everyone’s eyes all that was left of this great conqueror, on the physical platform, was a pile of ashes. Then Rama told Laxmana to officially coronate Vibhisana as the king of Lanka.
Then Rama told Hanuman to go and inform Sita that the war was over and Ravana was dead. Hanuman walked freely through the pathways and came straight to Ashoka van where Sita was sitting under a tree and crying. Hanuman gave her the news and for the first time in last 10 months she became very joyful. She wanted to give many jewels and pearls to Hanuman but she had nothing. So she said, “All I have to give you is my gratitude.” Hanuman replied, “Seeing your joy is the only thing that I want.”
Then Lord Rama told Vibhisana to go and inform Sita to take her bath, decorate herself nicely and come to see Him. Sita was very eager to meet Rama. She decorated herself nicely. They put her in a palanquin and brought her to see Rama. Rama asked Vibhisana why is Sita riding on a palanquin, she should walk on foot, this confused everyone.
She beheld the beautiful face of Lord Rama but He had no emotions on his face, total gravity. She was so confused. Everyone was looking on. They could not believe what He was doing.
Lord Ramacandra then spoke, “For the sake of demigods I have conquered Ravana and as My dharma I have rescued you. I have no attachment for anything but dharma. Now I am going to become the king of Ayodhya and a king must be beyond all suspicion. You have spent ten months in the house of another man. I cannot accept you back. You could stay wherever you like.”
She fell to the ground crying. Her heart was absolutely shattered. No pain was greater than the pain of being rejected by Rama. She could not even speak. She was crying incessantly. Everyone was crying except Rama.
She looked at Laxmana and said, “If you are not willing to accept me, if you think that I have not been chaste and faithful towards Rama. Then I will give up my life by entering into fire.” She ordered Laxmana to start the fire. Laxmana looked at Rama pleading please don’t let her do this. But Rama just nodded His head and said “do it”. Laxmana’s hands were shaking. He started the fire. Then Sita weeping tears of love circumambulated Rama. Her hands folded she looked into the fire and spoke, “If even for a single moment I was not absorbed in thinking about You, my beloved Lord Rama, then let this fire burn me. But if I was completely chaste as your loving servant, without cessation, then this fire cannot do anything to me.” With these words she entered fire. Everyone was weeping and crying. At that point even Lord Rama could not contain His emotions His heart broke and he wept Sita was gone in the fire.
Suddenly Agni dev emerged from the fire with Sita in his arms. He said, “I have tested her. She has been completely faithful and chaste her surrender and love is absolutely spotless.”
Rama was overjoyed. He smiled tears in His eyes he accepted Sita. Whatever sorrow that was there for those 10 months was gone. Demigods began to shower flowers and sang the glories of Sita and Rama.
Lord Ramacandra returns
Lord Ramacandra along with His army returned to Rameshwaram. At that time Vibhisana approached Lord Ramacandra and requested Him that “this beautiful sethu (bridge) which we have built is so good, but it gives easy access to Lanka and in future some demoniac kings may attack Lanka or some rakshasa may come over and cause disruption here. So please break this bridge”.
So upon the request of Vibhisana Lord Ramacandra took His bow and with one end of the bow He cut the bridge into 3 parts and the bridge was destroyed. The two oceans (Bay of Bengal and Indian ocean) which were separated by the bridge, merged together.
Sri Ramacandra called for all the holy waters and tirthas of the entire universe to enter universe to enter into Dhanushkodi Tirtham. All the heavenly tirthas personified came there and filled up the sea where the bridge was broken. The place is so beautiful that Lord Ramacandra and Sita devi bathed here. Lord Rama said, “Anyone who comes here will be liberated from material bondage and We will shower Our mercy on them.”