Kumbhakarna’s Knot


Kumbhakarna
By Company School [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Mount Meru was much perturbed,
Indra sat sullen, all revelry curbed.
What could disturb the mighty deva so?
The answer only Indra did know.

He watched three brothers meditate by the fire,
Blessings of Brahma, they wished to acquire.
His sharp nose wrinkled with much spite,
Finally, his envy did take flight.

He rode the clouds, he struck the skies,
He couldn’t let them have their prize.
He eyed the giant among the three,
A pious warrior of might was he.

This Lankan giant was so quick-witted,
Against him, even Indra dared not to be pitted.
The giant’s mind was as sharp as his sword,
Ever loyal, he towered over his Lankan Lord.

Kumbhakarna’s power had in time grown,
So much so that Indra feared for his throne.
Rain or thunder, neither could thwart the yagna,
And then Indra heard the celestial tunes of the veena.

He bowed before the Goddess as she played,
He begged her to come to his aid.
Saraswati merely smiled as her fingers danced,
Indra took leave, at the brothers he glanced.

They invoked Brahma with their mind and will,
One wish of each, He was prepared to fulfil.
And so the youngest, Vibhishana, did ask,
In Brahma’s feet alone, he wished to bask
To receive Lord Vishnu, his holy sight,
Brahma nodded, much to Vibhishana’s delight.

Kumbhakarna and Ravana exchanged a glance,
They grunted as they waited for their chance.
Saraswati too waited for her turn,
There was much that the rakshasas needed to learn.

Kumbhakarna who so desired Indraasana
Was taken aback when his tongue begged for Nidraasana!
He wished for destruction of Devas, Nirdevatvam,
But instead his tongue asked for sleep, Nidravatvam.

He gaped at Ravana with his twisted tongue,
The decisive notes of Saraswati’s veena had been rung.
Ravana watched helplessly as Kumbhakarna fell,
He was horrified by Kumbhakarna’s sleeping spell.

Brahma turned to Ravana for it was his turn,
Ravana wished for Kumbhakarna to return.
He asked for Kumbhakarna’s boon to be undone,
And so the fate of Kumbhakarna was spun.

Brahma relieved him of the seat of sleep
But Kumbhakarna had sunk far too deep.
Too far consumed was he to ever be free,
The cursed one of the three.

Peace returned to Mount Meru once more,
Indra could faintly hear Kumbhakarna snore.
Relieved at last that he reigned supreme
While Kumbhakarna lay lost in a dream.

About the post: This post conveys the story behind Kumbhakarna’s mysterious sleep. For those who may not know, Kumbhakarna is from a mythological rakshas (demon) race in the Ramayana, he sleeps for months at a stretch and has incredible power, being a giant warrior. He was the younger brother of Ravana, the mythical ruler of Lanka and the enemy of Lord Rama. He plays a significant role in the Ramayana. Like many others, he urges Ravana to return Sita to her husband, Lord Rama but he stands by his brother even when Ravana refuses to do so.

Deva– A celestial race in Hindu Mythology. Indra is the king of the Devas.
Brahma-The Hindu God of Creation.
Saraswati-Hindu Goddess of knowledge, music, wisdom and learning.
Veena-A stringed musical instrument. Goddess Saraswati is usually depicted with a veena.
Mount Meru-The Indian equivalent of Mount Olympus, the home of the Devas.

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