Victory Of Meghanada (Painting By Raja Ravi Varma)
Indrajit or Meghanada was a prince of Lanka and a conqueror of Indra Loka (heaven). He was mentioned in the Indian epic Ramayana as the son of king Ravana. Ravana wanted his son to be a great devotee of Lord Shiva and equal to Lord Shiva in warfare. As per the wish of Ravana, Indrajit was blessed to be a warrior equal to Lord Shiva. Indrajit played an active role in the great war between Rama and Ravana. He was a mighty Mahamaharathi. He is considered as the most powerful and the only warrior to ever possess the three ultimate weapons of Trimurti, i.e. Brahmanda astra, Vaishnava astra, and Pashupatastra. He acquired all kinds of celestial weapons from his Guru Shukra, Lord Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva. By defeating the devas in the heaven he took their weapons and become the possessor of all kinds of divine weapons of deva, asura's and Trimurti's. He even twice defeated Rama and Lakshman, the avatars of Lord Vishnu. Indrajit killed 670 million Vanara's in a single day, nearly exterminating the entire half man-half monkey race.
In Sanskrit literal translation the name "Indrajit"(Sanskrit: इंद्रजीत) mentioned as "Conqueror of Indra" and "Mēghanāda"(Sanskrit: मेघनाद) as "Thunderous or lord of sky". In Tamil literal translation the name "Meghanatha"(Tamil: மேகநாத) mentioned as "Lord of Clouds". He defeated Indra, the king of the Devas, after which he came to be known as 'Indrajit'("the conqueror of Indra").
Indrajit was the eldest son of Ravana and his wife Mandodari, the daughter of Mayasura. He was named Meghanada 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 knew a great priest and as per his instructions 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 he 11th house of his Meghnad’s horoscope and an ultimate warrior was born.
At a very young age, Meghanada became the possessor of several supreme celestial weapons, including Brahmanda astra, Pashupatastra and Vaishnavastra, under the guidance of Shukra, the guru of the daitya(demons). He was married to Sulochana, the daughter of the King of the Serpents Shesha Naga.
During a battle between the Devas and Ravana, Meghanada defeated all the Devas and Indra. Meghanada tied and mounted Indra onto his celestial chariot and dragged him to Ravana in Lanka. Ravana and Meghanada decided to kill Indra. At this juncture, Brahma intervened and asked Meghanada to free Indra. Meghanada obliged and was granted a chance to ask for a boon from Brahma. Meghanada asked for immortality, but Brahma remarked that absolute immortality is against the law of the nature. Instead, he was then granted another boon: he would never be won over in any battle, until his Yagna(fire-worship) of his native goddess Prathyangira was disturbed and destroyed. On the completion of the Yagna, a supreme celestial chariot would appear, boarding which, Indrajit would become invincible in any battle. But Brahma also cautioned him that whosoever would destroy this yagna would also kill him. It was Brahma who gave him the name Indrajit("the conqueror of Indra"). Since Indrajit was a warrior equal to Lord Shiva, Lord Vishnu took avatar as Rama and Lakshman, since it was impossible for anyone else to defeat him.
Celestial weapons (Astra's) of Indrajit
Indrajit was trained under the guidance of Shukra and obtained all kinds of divine weapons of man, Devas, asura's and Trimurti's. The weaponry is categorized mainly into two types. One is Shastra, a handheld weapon like sword, lance or mace. The other is astra, a projectile missile invoked by reciting hymns.
Shastra's of Indrajit were,
|Kaal Disc||Time disc,Renders a piteous state of the enemy, full with magical powers, ending in air and water filled, ends in craters with fire, generates fire|
|Vishnu Disc||It first sparkles with cosmic holes, contains high degree radiance, revolves with one lakh revolutions per foot, very panicking is its projection|
|Indra Disc||Disc of King of Gods|
|Danda Disc||Punisher Disc|
|Dharma Disc||Virtue Disc|
|Modaki Mace||The Beater mace|
|Shikhari Mace||The tower of Protection mace|
|Dharma Paasha||The noose of Lord Dharmma|
|Kaala Paasha||The noose of Time|
|Naga Pasha||Noose of The Nagas, Upon impact this weapon would bind the target in coils of living venomous snakes.|
|Varuna paasha||Noose of Varuna, god of water. Can hook any beings be Deva, Asura or Human. Impossible to escape from the hook of this weapon|
|Yama Paasha||Noose of Yama, god of death. Arrest, pluck out life force of any living being. Except Trimurti's, no being can escape from this weapon|
|Samvarta||Weapon belonging to Yama. Used by Emperor Bharata to annihilate thirty million gandharvas in a moment, tearing them to pieces.|
|Vajra||Weapon of lord Indra, King of Devas. Equivalent to thunder bolt of Zeus. Infalliable and Invincible.|
|Vasavi Shakti||Magical dart of Indra and King of Devas, Infallible and Invincible.|
|Kankaalam||The deadly Pounder weapons that are wielded by demons|
|Impellers||Presided over by the power of Vishnu|
|Impellers||Presided over by the power of Rudra|
|Kapaalam||Weapons that are wielded by demons, Rod for the elimination of those very demons|
|Kankanam||Weapons that are wielded by demons,Rod for the elimination of those very demons.|
|Chandrahas||Sword of Lord Shiva, the Destroyer. The divine sword Chandrahas ( literally 'the laughter of the moon' but referring to the shape formed by a crescent moon which resembles a smile) was given to Raavan by Lord Shiva when pleased with his intense devotion. Ravana gave this sword to Indrajit in different occasions especially to fight against Devas. Invincible, Infalliable against any weapons and victory is assured.|
|Trishul||The Trident of Lord Shiva, the Destroyer. Infallible and cannot be stopped by anyone. Said to be the most powerful weapon without any parallel.|
|Pinaka||The celestial bow of Lord Shiva, the Destroyer. The bow is actually Ashta Nagas coiled in the shape of a bow. The eight angry terrific snakes form the body and string of the bow. Terrific in appearance and extremely heavy. The angry Ashta Nagas hisses and produce terrific sounds causing the entire universe to tremble in fear. The arrows from the bow is lightning fast. Indestructable.|
Offensive astra's of Indrajit were,
|Aishiika Astra||Grass-Blade missile,aisiika missile is dried blade of grass, which by invoking with hymns will become a projectile weapon|
|Shushka Astra||The Drier astra|
|Aardra Astra||The Drencher astra|
|Krouncha Astra||The Wrestler astra|
|Mohana Astra||The Stupefier astra of Gandharvas|
|Prashamana Astra||The Pacifier of enemy's anger, astra of Gandharvas|
|Maanava Astra||The Humane astra of Gandharvas|
|Varshana Astra||The Rainer astra|
|Shoshana Astra||The Drainer astra|
|Santaapana Astra||The Humidifier astra|
|Vilaapana Astra||The Weep inducer astra|
|Mohana Astra||The Intoxicator, an unassailable intoxicator and a dear astra of Manmatha|
|Sammohanastra||Astra of Gandarvas, would cause entire hosts,armies to collapse in a trance.|
|Prasvapana||Astra of Gandarvas, the inducer of sleep|
|Sabdavedastra||Astra of Gandharvas, This weapon is used to hunt down invisble enemies|
|Paishaca Astra||The Monster missile, astras of pishaacas, monsters|
|Nalika Astra||Astra of Asuras, Very short, quick astras designed for mass killing and penetrating hard armours. Sages had prohibited the use of Nalika astras in wars. It was declared unfair and immoral to use these arrows in war because it is extremely difficult to counter, gives unfair advantage in a fair fight, similar to present day bullets. Also used to pierce extremely small targets.|
|Teja Prabha Astra||Solar missile the sequestrator of others' brilliance|
|Shishira Astra||The Cooler,the missile of Moon-god|
|Sudaamana Astra||A very deadly astra of Tvasta|
|Shitaisu Astra||Dangerous Astra of Bhaga|
|Samvarta Astra, Mausala Astra, Satya Astra, Maaya Astra||Indomitable Astras|
|Vaidyadhara Astra, Taamasa Astra, Saumana Astra||Indomitable Astras|
|Naga-astra||Astra of the Nagas, The weapon would have an unerring aim and take on the form of a snake, proving deadly upon impact.|
|Garudastra||Astra of Garuda, The eagle weapon to counter against the Nagastra.|
|Twashtar Astra||Astra of Twashtri,the heavenly builder,When used against a group of opponents (such as an army), would cause them to mistake each other for enemies and fight each other.|
|Manavastra||Astra of Manu (Hinduism), father of the human race,Could overcome supernatural protections and carry the target hundreds of miles away. Can inspire humane traits in an evil being.|
|Parvataastra||Would cause a Parvata/mountain to fall on the target from the skies.|
|Bhaumastra||Astra of Bhumi, goddess of earth,The weapon could create tunnels deep into the earth.|
|Agneyastra||Astra of Agni, god of fire,the weapon discharged would emit flames inextinguishable through normal means.|
|Varunastra||Astra of Varuna, god of water,the weapon discharged would release torrential volumes of water. This weapon is commonly mentioned as used to counter the Agneyastra.|
|Vayvayastra||Astra of Vayu, god of wind,Bring about a gale capable of lifting armies off the ground.|
|Suryastra||Astra of Surya,the solar deity and the father of Karna,Create a dazzling light that would dispel any darkness about/dry up water bodies/ can produce blinding light.|
|Indraastra||Astra of Indra god of weather and King of Devas,would bring about a 'shower' of arrows from the sky.|
|Mohini Astra||Astra of Mohini, an Avatar of Vishnu,Dispel any form of maya or sorcery in the vicinity.|
|Hayagriva Astra||The Astra of the Horse-head avatar of Vishnu|
|Ravaana Astra||The Astra of almighty Ravana, the father of Meghnada. Brings out the strength and 10000 year tapas energy of mighty Ravana into the battle field as destructive power. No weapon's, astras of Devas, Asuras or Humans can counter this astra. Competely infalliable and invincible. No counter until Rama, the 7th avatar of Lord Vishnu invented Kodandaram astra to neutralise this weapon.|
|Rudra Astra||Astra of Rudra,a form of Lord Shiva,Contains the power of a Rudra. When it is used, it invokes the power of a Rudra out of the Ekadasha (Eleven) Rudras and destroys the target. The mantra for the Siva kavach(armour) can be weakened by the Rudra astra|
|Maheshwarastra||Astra of Lord Maheshwara, a form of Lord Shiva,Contains the power of Shiva's third eye. Shoots a really fast fiery beam which can turn even celestial beings to complete ashes. Infallible and unstoppable.It has the power to turn the entire creation to ashes|
|Shiva Astra||The Astra of Lord Shiva, the Destroyer.|
|Brahma Astra||Astra of Lord Brahma, the Creator, Capable of killing devas,would destroy entire hosts at once. Could also counter most other astras. It is said that the weapon manifest with the single head of Lord Brahma as its tip. It is the only weapon capable of piercing the Brahma Kavach (invincible armour of Lord Brahma). Extremely powerful. Capable of destroying the any being except Trimurti's in any realm.|
|Narayanastra||Astra of Lord Vishnu. This is the personal weapon of Lord Vishnu in his Narayana form. This weapon had to be obtained from Vishnu directly. When invoked, Ekadasha (Eleven) Rudras appear in the sky to destroy the targets. Who ever tries to resist it will be destroyed. This astra lets loose a powerful tirade of millions of deadly missiles simultaneously. The intensity of the shower increases with resistance. Capable of killing devas, any beings, would destroy entire hosts at once. The only solution is total submission before the missile and the user, only then it cease.|
|Brahmashira Astra||Astra of Lord Brahma, the Creator, Capable of killing devas. It is the evolution of the Brahmastra, 4 times stronger than Brahmastra. It is said that the weapon manifest with the four head of Lord Brahma as its tip. Capable of destroying the entire world and any realm in a blink of an eye.|
|Vaishnavastra||Astra of Lord Vishnu, The personal weapon of Vishnu. Once fired it cannot be thwarted by any means, save by the will of Vishnu himself and Lord Shiva. Only counter is Pashupatasra of Lord Shiva and Brahmanda Astra. This weapon is said to possess the power to destroy the entire solar systems or Brahmand, the 14 realms according to Hindu cosmology when used for offensive purpose. Highly prohibited to use against an inferior enemy. Capable of destroying the entire universe in a blink of an eye.|
|Pashupatastra||Astra of Lord Shiva, the Destroyer. Would destroy any target completely, irrespective of target's nature. When released, the weapon summons several monsters and a huge spirit which personifies the weapon. Each time the weapon is summoned, its head is never the same. This weapon had to be obtained from Shiva directly. Capable of destroying the entire multiverse in a blink of an eye. Personal weapon of Adiparsakthi and Paramasiva.|
|Brahmanda Astra||Astra of Lord Brahma, the Creator, Capable of repelling the Brahmastra and Brahmashira astra and any other weapons ever created. The weapon manifest with the all five heads of Lord Brahma as its tip.This weapon is said to possess the power to destroy the entire solar systems or Brahmand, the 14 realms according to Hindu cosmology when used for offensive purpose. Highly prohibited to use against an inferior enemy. Designed to neutralize Vaishnavastra of Vishnu and Pashupatastra of Shiva. In some texts it is called Brahma-dhanda astra, the weapon created by Saptarishi's to counter any weapon ever created, even that of Trimurti's. The rishi of this weapon is Para Brahman. It is said to be the most difficult astra to obtain. Capable of destroying entire multiverse in a blink of an eye. Vishvamitra used all kinds of divine weapons against sage Vashistha, even Pashupatastra, but the Brahma-dhanda astra of Vashistha neutralized and swallowed all astra (weapon) of Vishwamitra proving that Brahma-dhanda astra is the most powerful of all astra's.|
Defensive astra's or Upasamhaara astras, which can be used to neutralize enemy's astra's are
|Satyavanta, Satyakeerti, Dhristha, Rabhasa, Pratihaaratara, Paraanmuka, Avaanmukha, Lakshya, Alakshya, Dhridhanaabha, Sunaabha, Dashaaksha, Shatavaktra, Dashasheersha, Shatodara, Padmanaabha, Mahaanaabha, Dundunaabha, Svanaabha, Jyotisha, Shakuna, Nairaashya, Vimala, Yungandhara, Vinidra, Daitya, Pramadhana, Suchibaahu, Mahaabaahu, Nishkali, Virucha, Saarchirmaali, Dhritimaali, Vrittiman, Ruchira, Pitrya, Ssaumansa, Vidhoota, Makara, Karaveerakara, Dhana, Dhaanya, Kaamaroopa, Kaamaruchira, Moha, Aavarana, Jrimbhaka, Sarvanaabha, Varana.|
Offensive astras and their Defensive astras or Upasamhaara Astras that can be used for both offensive and defensive purposes are.
|Andhatamisr Astra||Mahatarany Astra|
|Pakhand Astra||Gayatry Astra|
|Andh Astra||Chakshushmat Astra|
|Shaktinash Astra||Vishvavasumah Astra|
|Antak Astra||Mriityunjay Astra|
|Sarvasmritinashan Astra||Sarvasmritidharan Astra|
|Bhay Astra||Abhayankaraaindr Astra|
|Maharog Astra||namatray Astra|
|Ayurnash Astra||Kalasamkarshan Astra|
|Mahasur Astra||Muladurg Astra|
|Muk Astra||mahavagvadiny astra|
|Vedataskar Astra||Mahamatsy Astra|
|Arnav Astra||Adikurm Astra|
|Hiranyaksh Astra||Mahavarah Astra|
|Balindr Astra||Vaman Astra|
|Haihay Astra||Bhargav Astra|
|Dvivid Astra||Haladhar Astra|
|Rajasur Astra||Vasudev Astra|
|Sankarshan Astra||Pradyumn Astra, AniruddhAstra|
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.
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.
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 behind Rama's and Lakshmana's back. Indrajit used the Vasavi Sakthi against Rama, Lakshmana and the army of Sugriva. On being impaled by that weapon Rama, Lakshmana and the entire army fell unconscious, poised to die precisely at the following sunrise. Their 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 them.
When Indrajit came to know that Lakshmana had survived again, he went to his native deity's secret temple to perform the yagna that would make him invincible. Vibhishana, Indrajit's paternal uncle who left Ravana to join Rama, learned of his nephew Indrajit's plans through his spies and alerted Rama. Lakshmana and Vibhisana took the opportunity to face Indrajit in the "Yagnaagaar", where Indrajit would not touch any weapons. As the Valmiki Ramayana quotes, upon his Yagna being destroyed by the armies of Lakshmana, Indrajit became enraged and stormed out of the Temple Cave. Indrajit fought Lakshmana with the utensils of the yagna.
Seeing his uncle Vibhishana at Lakshmana's side multiplied Indrajit's fury manyfold. He vowed to kill his uncle Vibhisana along with Lakshmana once and for all, letting loose the Yama-astra which he had been conserving for punishing Vibhishana's perceived treason. At this juncture, Lakshmana protected Vibhishana, countering the Yama-astra owing to an earlier warning by Kubera. A fierce battle ensued and Indrajit resorted to using the three Supreme Weapons (Brahmanda astra, Pashupatastra and Vaishnavastra) on Lakshmana. To Indrajit's great shock and dismay, each of the three weapons refused to even touch Lakshmana, with the Vaishnavastra circumambulating Lakshmana before disappearing, as Lakshmana was the avatar of Lord Vishnu and Sesha. Realization dawned on Indrajit that Lakshmana was no ordinary human as he and his father had perceived. Indrajit vanished briefly from the battlefield, returning to Ravana at the royal palace and reported the developments, proposing that his father make peace with Rama. Ravana blinded with pride was unrelenting and annoyed, and even suggested that Indrajit was a coward for having fled the battlefield. This accusation provoked Indrajit who briefly lost his temper, striking fear even at the mighty Ravana's heart before apologizing and clarifying to his father that his primary duty as a son was to serve his father's best interests and that even in the face of death, he would never abandon Ravana. Preparing to go back to the battle and knowing that he indeed faced death at the hands of a heavenly incarnation, Indrajit said his last goodbyes to his parents and his wife. He returned to the battlefield and fought Lakshmana with all his skill at both warfare and sorcery. Lakshmana was unstoppable because the celestial astras of Indrajit refused to harm the avatar of supreme godhead Vishnu. Lakshmana slew Indrajit by beheading him with the Indrastra. Upon his death his wife Sulochana became Sati on his funeral pyre.
Indrajit is said to be the one of the most skilled warrior ever surpassing even Rama, the avatar of Vishnu. Indrajit with the help of Shukracharya acquired weapons from Lord Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva, including the boon that he would remain immortal as long as he fought from the divine chariot which rose each time he performed sacrifices to Brahma at Nikumbhila.
He was said to be so skilled in archery that he could slay multiple opponents with one arrow shot from his bow. Indrajit was also capable of spreading darkness and ignorance among enemies, which greatly empowered the might of the Rakshasas. He even defeated Indra and all Devas and captured all of them. Indrajit was well versed in using divine weapons and shot serpents in the form of arrows at Rama and Lakshmana. On the second battle at Lanka, Indrajit infused the power of the Brahmashira astra into his chariot, bow and arrows and slew six hundred and seventy million Vanaras in one day, even defeating Rama and Lakshmana. However, they were all resurrected when Hanuman brought mystical herbs of healing powers. Indrajit was capable of producing a false version of Sita and killing her in front of Vanaras, demoralizing them.
Lakshmana had to employ deceit to kill Indrajit. Lakshman started the fight with Indrajit before sunrise, which was considered to be prohibited at that era. Lakshmana with the help of Vibhishana, the brother of Ravana by employing deceit disrupted the sacrifice of Indrajit at early morning. Lakshmana with the help of Vibhishana, who had earlier betrayed his brother Ravana and his country, fought with Indrajit in an unfair war and finally killed 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. Each part exhibits different incidents. Starting from the death of Beerbahu, 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.
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 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. 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.
- Meghnad Bodh Kavya
- Hindu mythological wars
- Patalkot, India
- Astra (weapon)
|Wikisource has original text related to this article:|
- C. G. Uragoda (2000). Traditions of Sri Lanka: A Selection with a Scientific Background. Vishva Lekha Publishers. ISBN 978-955-96843-0-5.
- George M. Eberhart (1 January 2002). Mysterious Creatures: A Guide to Cryptozoology. ABC-CLIO. pp. 388–. ISBN 978-1-57607-283-7.
- "Ravana and Shani fight over the horoscope of Meghnad". Retrieved December 2, 2015.
- "Brahmadhanda astra". Retrieved May 19, 2016.
- Mani, Vettam. Puranic Encyclopedia. New Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass.
- Read the whole ballad in Bangla