Indrajit

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Indrajit
Indrajit
Victory Of Meghanada (Painting By Raja Ravi Varma)
Information
Spouse(s) Sulochana

Indrajit or Meghanada, according to Hindu mythology, was a prince of Lanka and a conqueror of Indra Loka (heaven) like his father before him. He was mentioned in the Indian epic Ramayana. Indrajit played an active role in the great war between Rama and Ravana. He was a mighty maharathi warrior who possessed the mighty Brahmastra. Some fake sources call him as an atimaharathi which is not true.

Etymology

In Sanskrit literal translation the name "Indrajit"(इन्द्रजित्) mentioned as "Conqueror of Indra" and "Meghanāda"(Sanskrit: मेघनाद) as "Thunderous or lord of sky". In Tamil literal translation the name "Meghanathan"[1] (Tamil: மேகநாதன்) mentioned as "Lord of Clouds", which combines the words "Megham"(clouds) and "Nathan"(lord). He defeated Indra, the king of the Devas, after which he came to be known as 'Indrajit'("the conqueror of Indra").[citation needed]

He can be also known as Shakrajit, Ravani, Vasavajit, Varidanada and Ghananada. Indrajith is a derived version of the original Sanskrit name Indrajitha.

Biography

Wayang Figure Of Indrajit.

Indrajit was the eldest son of Ravana and his wife Mandodari. He was named Meghanada after his birth because his birth cry sounded like thunder. When Meghnadh was going to be born, Ravana wished his son to be supreme so that no one in the world could defeat him. Ravana wanted his son to be the ultimate warrior and extremely knowledgeable. Ravana was a great astrologist so to make his son immortal he commanded all the planets and constellations in such a position that would allow his son to be born the way he wanted. Because of Ravana’s anger and power, all the planets and constellation feared him. All the planets were in the position as desired by Raavan at time of his son Meghnad’s birth. All the planets aligned in such a way that they come in the 11th house of his Meghnad’s horoscope.[2] However, Shani(Saturn) had disobeyed Ravana's orders and had settled in the 12th house of Meghanada's horoscope.Ravana became furious at this and lamed Shani.Due to the state of Shani, Meghanada had to die at the hands of Lakshmana in the war between Rama and Ravana.

Meghanada was also an expert in magic and tantra which was considered as cheating . He was married to Sulochana, the virtuous daughter of the King of the Serpents, Shesha Naga.[citation needed]She was a very brave woman who always supported Meghanada in his path of duty and never asked him to withdraw from any war by making him weak.


Battle against Hanuman

Rama sent Hanuman to know about Sita, who was held captive by Ravana in Lanka. Hanuman met Sita and passed the message of Rama to Sita. The other purpose of this mission was to spy on Lanka and its forces. On the way Hanuman encountered the troops of Ravana in Ashoka vatika, where Sita was kept. Hanuman fought with them and swiftly destroyed many soldiers.Hanuman even killed the vatika's guard Jambumali and Ravana's youngest son Akshayakumara(Indrajit's brother). Indrajit entered the battlefield. He used tantrik vidya as well as several astras on him. Though due to the boons by various gods, most celestial weapons of Indrajit had no effect on Hanuman. Indrajit then used the brahmastra, which could not harm him at all. Yet, Hanuman did not want to disrespect Brahmastra so he asked Indrajit to surrender him. Indrajit then arrested Hanuman and presented him in front of his father King Ravana.[3]

Battle Against Rama & Lakshmana

Indrajit joined the battle when all his brothers had been killed by Rama and his army. His father, Ravana, had been humiliated in the battle by Rama and his paternal uncle Kumbhakarna had been killed by Rama. Indrajit fought with Rama's army for three days.

First Day

Rama & Lakshmana Bound By Indrajit's Nagapasha

On the first day of his battle with Rama's army, Indrajit was swift with his weapons. He swiftly wiped out the Armies of Sugriva, calling on Lord Rama and Lakshmana to come out of their hiding, so he could avenge the deaths of his paternal uncle and his brothers. When Rama and Lakshmana appeared before him, he fought fiercely and arrested both the brothers using his most nefarious weapon Nagapash (a trap made of a million snakes). Both the brothers fell on the ground breathless. They were rescued by Garuda on behest of Hanuman. Garuda was the enemy of the serpents and also the flying vehicle of Vishnu, of whom Rama was the seventh avatar.

Second Day

When Indrajit learned that both Rama and Lakshmana had been rescued by Garuda and were still alive, he was livid and vowed to kill at least one of the brothers that day. When the battle started, he used all his force to cast a havoc on the armies of Sugriva. At this Rama and Lakshmana appeared before him and fought a fierce battle with him. Indrajit used his supreme magical powers, darting across the clouds and skies like a bolt of lightning. He combined his skills of sorcery and warfare, repeatedly vanishing and reappearing in order to confuse his enemies. Indrajit used the "Veer ghatini shakti" against Lakshmana. On being impaled by that weapon, Lakshmana fell unconscious, poised to die precisely at the following sunrise. His life was saved by Lord Hanuman, who brought the whole mountain of Dronagiri from the Himalayas to Lanka overnight to find the remedy (the magical herb - Sanjivani) for the weapon used by Indrajit and cured him .

Third day

Lakshamana Fights Indrajit
Killing Of Indrajit Painting By Balasaheb Pant Pratinidhi

When Indrajit came to know that Lakshmana had survived again, he went to his native deity's secret temple cave to perform the Nikumbhila yagna that would make him invincible. Vibhishana, Indrajit's paternal uncle who left Ravana to join Rama, learned of his nephew's plans through his spies and alerted Rama. Lakshmana invoked the Indraastra(Indra's weapon)and uttered the following words:

"If Rama, the son of Dasharatha is the epitome of Dharma and if I am his true servant, then oh arrow, go forth and behead Meghanada(Indrajit), the son of Ravana"

Lakshmana fired the weapon, which ultimately severed Indrajit's head from his body and carried it away. According to some verses, Lakshmana also severed Indrajit's arm, which fell in front of his wife Sulochana, who made the arm come to life by the power of her devotion towards her husband and got to know about his heroic death on the battlefield when the arm wrote about the same.

Rama treated Indrajit's dead body with honor and returned the body to Lanka for a respectful funeral. When Ravana received the news of his son's demise, he collapsed at once.

Sulochana committed sati on the funeral pyre of Indrajit due to her dedication and love for him.

In popular culture

Meghnad is the central figure of Meghnad Badh Kavya, a Bengali ballad, which describes Meghnad as a caring husband, a devoted son of parents and friend of all people. Meghnad Badh Kavya is the most famous and most acclaimed poem by the poet Michael Madhusudan Dutta. It is based on the demise of Meghnad (Indrajit), son of Ravana, the villain of the classic Sanskrit epic Ramayana.

It was first published in 1861, incidentally the year of birth of the Bengali author, Rabindranath Tagore, who afterwards wrote a review on it. The ballad is divided into 9 different sargas, i.e. parts.[4] Each part exhibits different incidents. Starting from the death of Beerbahu, a son of Ravana, it is continued till the sati-daha (the ancient Indian custom of burning the widows alive with the dead husband) of Prameela, Meghnad's beloved wife.Since according to this ballad, Meghnad's wife is Prameela, it can be reasonably believed that Sulochana was also known as Prameela.

Ravana, along with his sons, were the ones performing evil deeds in the Ramayana, which was originally written in Sanskrit by the sage Valmiki. But Dutta claims to have found a tragic hero in Meghnad of Ramayana, as he was conversant Western literature. He feels a shadow of Hector of Troy in Meghnad and Karna in Mahabharata. According to him, he realized why Ravana had perpetrated such crimes and Meghnad was slayed by Lakshmana brutally in an unfair fight. He says that Meghnad was worshiping Lord Shiva in the royal temple of Lanka, while Lakshmana attacked him with some help from Vibhishana who is eventually an uncle of Meghnad. Meghnad asked not to fight with an unarmed person, rebuking Lakshmana as a coward; but Lakshmana did not heed him. This unfortunate hero twice endangered Rama but could not survive himself in this unfair battle. This is the central theme of this epic. Here Meghnad is shown to be a patriot, a loving husband, a caring son and a friend to his countrymen.

Myths about omnipotence

Indrajit is often depicted as the most powerful warrior in hindu mythology. However, this is not true as several warriors like Ravana, Parshurama, Saptarishis, Prajapatis, Bhishma, Skanda and Jalandhara are far more powerful than Indrajit. Indrajit contrary to pop culture myths, never possessed any of the 3 main astras- Pashupatastra, Brahmanda astra and Narayana astra. The most powerful astra he had was Brahmastra.

See also

References

  1. ^ Kamba Rāmāyanam: an English prose rendering (1996), p. 20.
  2. ^ "Ravana and Shani fight over the horoscope of Meghnad". Retrieved December 2, 2015. 
  3. ^ http://www.valmikiramayan.net/yuddha_kanda_contents.html
  4. ^ Read the whole ballad in Bangla

External links

  • Intarachit in the Thai Ramakian (Ramayana)
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