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Epic Power

Rama, the vanquisher of Tataka

In part eight, we witness the epic struggle between heroic Ram and demonic Tataka and the granting of divine weaponary and hymns by a grateful Vishvamitra upon Ram’s triumph

Vishvamitra besieges Rama to kill Tataka

And so Vishvamitra spoke, "Tataka is an atrocious one, replete with valour and force of arms. Such a cruel person can be eliminated only by a person of your resolute gallantry and there is none other in the three worlds more capable of doing so. Do not feel embarrassed or hesitate in the task of killing this woman. Let there be no compassion respect of life in regards to her. A king has the responsibility of safeguarding and protecting all four categories of the populace in society. Being incapable or failing in your vaunted responsibility amounts to a sin equivalent of killing a Brahmin and a cow. Since you are a prince you must protect your people. Do not ponder upon this matter any further and make preparations to end her tyranny at once."

Rama slaying Tataka

On hearing the words of Sage Vishvamitra about his duty to kill Tataka, Rama recalled his father's directions to him, that he shall do all that the sage tells him. "Father's dictate is ultimate and cannot be disregarded under any circumstances", thought Rama.

Upon making up his mind and steeling his resolve, Rama told Vishvamitra, "I shall eliminate Tataka in order to protect the people, the cows and the Brahmins". With his vow sworn anew, Rama made ready with his bow and his arrows. To bate the demoness, he started making a thunderous sound by pulling the bowstring. Soon thereafter, enraged with the sound, Tataka vindictively rushed to the place by the direction of the sound.

As soon as she arrived, she attempted to pounce on Rama, swinging her arms and using her powerful, frightening physique to full effect. Tataka started flinging a huge mass of dirt and heavy stones, making Rama furious. He proceeded to damage and cut off both the arms of Tataka with his arrows. Lakshmana, in support of his brother, cut her ears and nose. Undaunted, Tataka continued her attack with monstrous vigour and awe-inspiring magical powers. It was at that moment when Rama struck her down with an arrow to her chest with which she fell down dead. Inspired by his deed, Indra and the other gods admired Rama for his gallantry. Delighted by the efforts of his pupil, Vishvamitra kissed him on the forehead and stated that since it was already dusk, they would rest for the night and continue their journey the next morning, moving towards his hermitage which is nearby.

Vishvamitra granting hymns and weapons to Rama

The next day, Vishvamitra woke up Rama and Lakshmana as usual. Vishvamitra stated that Rama's fulfilment of his promise to Vishwamitra had pleased him and that he would, as previously discussed, give him all the heavenly weapons that he had access to. Vishvamitra described these fearsome and potent weapons. He said that anyone could wage war and win quite easily with these weapons.

Vishvamitra, on performing his morning worship, gave Rama the collection of extraordinary hymns along with these weapons. Collection of such vast amount weaponry supported by hymns was next to impossible even to the renowned Gods but had now been dedicated to Rama by Vishvamitra. The moment Vishvamitra dedicated them to Rama, they became accessible to Rama in their cosmological form and he told Rama that they will be with him in accomplishing whatever he ordains, whenever they may be required.

Later, with an obliged heart, Rama got ready to continue his journey with the Sage Vishvamitra. On the way, as usual, he spent time getting his doubts cleared by Vishvamitra and gaining knowledge.

Vishvamitra bestows weaponry withdrawal powers to Rama

While continuing on their journey, Rama, thanking Vishvamitra for giving such weaponry which is unattainable even for the gods, desired to know their usage process and also how they can be withdrawn when not required. Vishvamitra not only gave all those details but also bestowed on Rama the knowledge of withdrawal of the weaponry which were ecstatically divine

bodies, pleasing and giving enjoyment. With folded arms, the weapons stated that they were willing to do anything for Rama.

Touched by their devotion, Rama stated that, while remaining in his service, they should assist him as and when needed and till then they may come and go as per their wish.

Later, Sri Rama, upon seeing the place they had reached, asked Vishvamitra, "Sage! What is this charming pleasant place with animals frolicking all over fearlessly, accompanied by innumerable kinds of birds? This place is nothing like the alarming demon forest. What is the reason for this? Whose hermitage is this? Where are those ghastly butchers of Brahmins? Where is the place that you want to perform the ritual? From where will those evil-minded monsters come from? How can I be able to safeguard your ritual?".

Thus, Vishvamitra gave the brothers details about the Siddha Hermitage.

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