Kumbhakarna – Valmiki Ramayana Story

KumbhakarnaKumbhakarna (कुम्भकर्ण, Kumbhakarn) was a rakshasa and brother of King Ravana. Even with his gigantic size and great urge for food, he was described to be of good character, though he killed and ate many monks simply to display his power.

Kumbhakarna was considered so pious, intelligent and brave that Indra, the king of gods, was jealous of him. He carried out a major yajna with his brothers to impress Lord Brahma.

When Lord Brahma was pleased, he asked for his wish. Kumbhakarna instead of demanding Indrasana (Lord Indra’s throne), requested for Nidrasana (a bed to sleep). It is claimed that goddess Saraswati cast a spell on Kumbhakarna on the request of Lord Indra where he was tongue-tied while asking for his wish.

Ravana requested Brahma to undo this boon as it was in reality a bane. Kumbhakarna slept for half a year and when he awoke, he ate all things the vicinity, including human beings.

It is belived that no one in the whole Indralok could ever defeat Kumbhakarna. He was thought of as the most powerful in the entire universe, and even Indra Dev was jealous that his indrasena wouldn’t defeat him.

Kumbhakarna in War with Rama

In the war, Ravana was embarrassed by Rama and his army so he decided to awaken his brother Kumbhakarna. Kumbhakarna knew that the war against Rama was useless. He made an effort to convince Ravana that what he was doing was wrong. However, he fought for his brother’s pride and did not leave his side, unlike Vibhishana who backed Rama.

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He ruined Ram’s army, injured Hanuman, and knocked Sugriv unconscious and took him as a prisoner . Therefore Rama took the charge of the battle by himself. Kumbhakarn had magical power and he was skilled with many illusive forms to confuse the enemy. The battle went on for quite a while.

Finally Rama attacked Kumbhakarn with his most effective arrow strengthened with deadly divine missile. When this missile hit Kumbhakarn his life came to an end. When Ravana heard of his brother’s death, he fainted and announced that he was doomed.

Kumbhakarna had two sons, Kumbha and Nikumbha, who also fought against Rama and were killed. Kumbhakarn was considered one of the most interesting characters in the epic Ramayana. He was able to realize the mistakes and wrong-doings of Ravana, even tried to intervene and moderate at certain times. Fighting on what he knew was the wrong side, he was ultimately killed in battle.

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