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Kumbhakarna and Indrajit Enter the Fray

Kumbhakarna was Ravan's brother and had a truly formidable reputation as a warrior. The gods had cursed him so that he slept for a stretch of six months at a time. It was nearly impossible to wake him from his deep slumber. But Ravan realized that he needed to introduce Kumbhakarna onto the battleground to boost the morale of the demon army. Ravan had great faith in his brother's prowess as a warrior and was convinced that he would be able to slay Ram and rout the enemy. He ordered all his officers and servants to work on the difficult task of waking Kumbhakarna. They made an enormous din, blowing trumpets and conch shells, beating drums and shaking Kumbhakarna's body vigorously. But still the giant slept on undisturbed. Finally, when the servants had almost exhausted their efforts, Kumbhakarna woke, yawning hugely, and shaking off the servants like so many flies. He first sat down to eat the mountains of food that were prepared for him for it was common knowledge that when Kumbhakarna awoke from a deep slumber, he would be ravenously hungry. His hunger satisfied, Kumbhakarna prepared to go into battle. 

Kumbhakarna arrived on the scene like a whirlwind. He made short shrift of the monkeys, cutting through their defence like a knife cuts through butter. Mnagled bodies of monkeys lay strewn all over the battlefield. But Kumbhakarna's aim was to slay Ram. He charged at Ram brandishing an iron club in one hand and an uprooted tree in the other. Ram flung a wind missile at the demon that took off both his arms. But the demon did not seem to notice and charged on. Next Ram amputated the demon's legs, but Kumbhakarna hurtled on undeterred. Finally, Ram managed to decapitate the demon. A shocked silence hung over the battlefield as Kumbhakarna's severed head fell to the ground. 

Indrajit, Ravan's son, decided that he would take up the challenge of defeating Ram's army. Since Ram and Laxman could not seem to be vanquished by ordinary means, Indrajit decided to use his magic powers to make himself invisible. He hovered over the battlefield in his chariot and rained down poisoned arrows on Ram and Laxman. The two princes were bewildered. How could they fight an enemy they could not see? Finally, Laxman and Hanuman managed to entice Indrajit onto the battlefield where Laxman challenged him to single combat. Indrajit was confident that Laxman would be no match for him. As it turned out, he was wrong and his overconfidence cost him his life. The battle between Laxman and Indrajit raged for a long time for they were both well matched. But as Laxman felt his strength flagging, he prayed to the gods to give him a last surge of energy to finish off his foe. The gods answered his prayers and he cut off Indrajit's head. Without a leader, the demon army fell into disarray and they retreated helter skelter. Ravan was stricken by the news of the death of his son, but he did not have the luxury of time to mourn.
 


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