The Ramayana/Book I/Canto XXVIII: The Death of Tádaká

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The Ramayana of Valmiki by Valmiki, translated by Ralph T. H. Griffith
Book I — Canto XXVIII: The Death of Tádaká

Thus spoke the saint. Each vigorous word
The noble monarch's offspring heard,
And, reverent hands together laid,
His answer to the hermit made:
'My sire and mother bade me aye
Thy word, O mighty Saint, obey
So will I, O most glorious, kill
This Tádaká who joys in ill,
For such my sire's, and such thy will.
To aid with mine avenging hand
The Bráhmans, kine, and all the land,
Obedient, heart and soul, I stand.'

Thus spoke the tamer of the foe,
And by the middle grasped his bow.
Strongly he drew the sounding string
That made the distant welkin ring.
Scared by the mighty clang the deer
That roamed the forest shook with fear.
And Tádaká the echo heard,
And rose in haste from slumber stirred.
In wild amaze, her soul aflame
With fury toward the spot she came.
When that foul shape of evil mien
And stature vast as e'er was seen
The wrathful son of Raghu eyed,
He thus unto his brother cried:
'Her dreadful shape, O Lakshman, see,
A form to shudder at and flee.
The hideous monster's very view
Would cleave a timid heart in two.
Behold the demon hard to smite,
Defended by her magic might.
My hand shall stay her course to-day,
And shear her nose and ears away.
No heart have I her life to take:
I spare it for her sex's sake.
My will is but, with 'minished force,
To check her in her evil course.'
While thus he spoke, by rage impelled
   Roaring as she came nigh,
The fiend her course at Ráma held
   With huge arms tossed on high.
Her, rushing on, the seer assailed
   With a loud cry of hate;
And thus the sons of Raghu hailed:
   'Fight, and be fortunate.'
Then from the earth a horrid cloud
   Of dust the demon raised,
And for awhile in darkling shroud
   Wrapt Raghu's sons amazed.
Then calling on her magic power
   The fearful fight to wage,
She smote him with a stony shower,
   Till Ráma burned with rage.
Then pouring forth his arrowy rain
   That stony flood to stay,

With winged darts, as she charged amain,
   He shore her hands away.
As Tádaká still thundered near
   Thus maimed by Ráma's blows,
Lakshman in fury severed sheer
   The monster's ears and nose.
Assuming by her magic skill,
   A fresh and fresh disguise,
She tried a thousand shapes at will,
   Then vanished from their eyes.
When Gádhi's son of high renown
Still saw the stony rain pour down
Upon each princely warrior's head,
With words of wisdom thus he said:
'Enough of mercy, Ráma, lest
This sinful evil-working pest,
Disturber of each holy rite,
Repair by magic arts her might.
Without delay the fiend should die,
For, see, the twilight hour is nigh.
And at the joints of night and day
Such giant foes are hard to slay.'
Then Ráma, skilful to direct
   His arrow to the sound,
With shafts the mighty demon checked
   Who rained her stones around.
She sore impeded and beset
By Ráma and his arrowy net,
Though skilled in guile and magic lore,
Rushed on the brothers with a roar.
Deformed, terrific, murderous, dread,
Swift as the levin on she sped,
Like cloudy pile in autumn's sky,
Lifting her two vast arms on high,
When Ráma smote her with a dart,
Shaped like a crescent, to the heart.
Sore wounded by the shaft that came
With lightning speed and surest aim,
Blood spouting from her mouth and side.
She fell upon the earth and died.
Soon as the Lord who rules the sky
Saw the dread monster lifeless lie,
He called aloud, Well done! well done!
And the Gods honoured Raghu's son.
Standing in heaven the Thousand-eyed,
With all the Immortals, joying cried:
'Lift up thine eyes, O Saint, and see
The Gods and Indra nigh to thee.
This deed of Ráma's boundless might
Has filled our bosoms with delight,
Now, for our will would have it so,
To Raghu's son some favour show.
Invest him with the power which naught
But penance gains and holy thought,
Those heavenly arms on him bestow
To thee entrusted long ago
By great Krisás'va best of kings,
Son of the Lord of living things,
More fit recipient none can be
Than he who joys it following thee
And for our sakes the monarch's seed
Has yet to do a mighty deed.'

He spoke; and all the heavenly train
Rejoicing sought their homes again,
While honour to the saint they paid.
Then came the evening's twilight shade,
The best of hermits overjoyed
To know the monstrous fiend destroyed,
His lips on Ráma's forehead pressed,
And thus the conquering chief addressed:
'O Ráma gracious to the sight.
Here will we pass the present night,
And with the morrow's earliest ray
Bend to my hermitage our way.'
The son of Das'aratha heard,
Delighted, Vis'vámitra's word,
And as he bade, that night he spent
In Tádaká's wild wood, content.
And the grove shone that happy day,
Freed from the curse that on it lay,
Like Chaitraratha [1] fair and gay.


  1. The famous pleasure-garden of Kuvera the God of Wealth.