Read about Rama's journey in the forest with Vishwamitra,
Vishwamitra and the young Rama set off for the forest along with Lakshman, who insisted on accompanying his beloved brother. They journeyed for many days and every time they stopped to rest awhile, Vishwamitra took the opportunity to discuss the sacred weapons with Rama. They continued uneventfully on the journey until they reached the foot of a dark and demonic forest filled with demons of prey.
Tataka or Taraka
Tataka was an enormous she-demon and mother of Marich, who terrorized the forest. Rama, Lakshmana and Vishwamitra entered the forest and with each step they kept going deeper and deeper until suddenly the monstrous Tataka appeared before them. She was huge,
repulsive, and wore a necklace of skulls around her neck. When she
accosted Rama and Lakshman, she sent off a shower of stones hurtling
towards them, which they combated with arrows. Vishwamitra told Rama to
"be safe, and be victorious". This, in a way, was an ambiguous order,
as Rama was not directly commanded to kill her. Had he received a
direct order to kill her, he would have done so since his father had
told him that he was to obey Vishwamitra at all times.
Although Rama still could have
killed her using his own discretion, he was faced with an enigma since
she was female and Rama's principles would not allow him to kill a
female. Thus, Rama shot two arrows, cutting off her arms. Tataka then
started shrieking and wailing loudly, causing Lakshman to fire arrows
and cut off her nose and ears. By way of sorcery she then became
invisible and continued assailing the three with huge boulders, but
Rama and Lakshmana combated the boulders with their arrows, causing the
boulders to split into harmless stones. Vishwamitra then told Rama to
set aside his compassion and clearly commanded him to kill her before
the sun sets since after dusk and until dawn demons
are invincible. Then Rama, guided by sound alone, killed her with a
powerful arrow. Vishwamitra and the Gods in heaven were overjoyed and the forest, free from Tataka's hold, became a beautiful and heavenly abode once again.
Mareech and Subahu
After Rama slayed Tataka, Vishwamitra handed the divine weapons over to
Rama. They then continued on their journey. A few days later they came
across another picturesque forest, which is haunted by Mareech, Subahu
and other demons. They guarded Vishwamitra as he performed his rituals for six days and six nights, until the demons
arrived to disturb the rituals. Rama shot Mareech with the Manava
missile, hurling him a distance of a hundred 'yojans', into the ocean.
However, he did not kill Mareech. (Mareech then later on tries to
dissuade Ravana from his plans of kidnapping Sita, and agrees to assume
the form of a deer to lure Rama away from Sita.) Rama killed Subahu,
who was the more vicious of the demons
and proceed to destroy the accompanying rakshasas. By doing this Rama
endeared himself to all the Sadhus, who were now free to perform their
rituals without any hindrances by the demons.
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