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Kumbhakaran

Other names : Kumbhkarna, Kumbhkarn, Kumbkarna, Kumbkaran, Kumbhakarna,

Sage Pulatasya’s descendent; Vaishrava’s son Kumbhakarna was the younger brother of Ravana. He was older than Vibheeshan. Virochana, the king of the Daityas, had his grand-daughter Vatrajwala married to him. They had two sons Kumbh and Nikumbh. Kumbakarna was as massive as a mountain and his diet matched his size. He drank hundreds of potfuls of liquor and chewed up thousands of animals  as his meal during the one day he was awake every six months. His nostrils were like two twin caverns.

 

The reason why he slept six months at a time was because he had accompanied Ravana to Gokarnkshetra to undertake penance in order to seek a boon from Lord Brahma. He wanted Indrasan (the throne of Indra, the king of Devas). Brahma realized that if this being succeeded in his penance, the whole of creation would be devoured in no time, and so went to his daughter Saraswati, and told her the story and requested her to “scramble” the demon’s speech processes.  When it came time for Brahma to grant Kumbhakarna his boon, the thought of Indra’s throne was perhaps in his mind, but the words “I want to sleep six months and wake up for one day” came out of his mouth.

The reason why he slept six months at a time was because he had accompanied Ravana to Gokarnkshetra to undertake penance in order to seek a boon from Lord Brahma. He wanted Indrasan (the throne of Indra, the king of Devas). Brahma realized that if this being succeeded in his penance, the whole of creation would be devoured in no time, and so went to his daughter Saraswati, and told her the story and requested her to “scramble” the demon’s speech processes. When it came time for Brahma to grant Kumbhakarna his boon, the thought of Indra’s throne was perhaps in his mind, but the words “I want to sleep six months and wake up for one day” came out of his mouth.

Brahma instantly said, “Tathastu! (So be it!)”

 

Ravana had had a huge palace built for Kumbhakarna to sleep in for those six months. Kumbhakarna had also told by Narad that “When Ravana takes Sita away to Lanka, that will be the beginning of the end for the Rakshasa race.”

 

In their earlier lives, Kumbhakarna and Ravana had been the doorkeepers of Vaikunthdham (Vishnu’s abode). Ravana’s name had been Jay, and Kumbhakarna’s was Vijay. They stood in the way of Sanaka, Brahma’s mind-born son, when he was entering Vaikunth. It was as the outcome of the curse he gave them for that, that they were born as Rakshasas (demons). In his earlier life, Kumbhakarna had been Hiranyaksha, who had met his end through Vishnu in his Varaha (boar form) avatar (incarnation). Ravana was born as Hiranyakashipu, the father of the child devotee Prahlad, and his end was at the hands of Vishnu’s incarnation Narasimha (half-lion and half human). In this life, the two were born as wicked rakshasas who were destined to be killed by Vishnu in the avatar (incarnation) of Rama.

Ravana’s name had been Jay, and Kumbhakarna’s was Vijay. They stood in the way of Sanaka, Brahma’s mind-born son, when he was entering Vaikunth. It was as the outcome of the curse he gave them for that, that they were born as Rakshasas (demons). In his earlier life, Kumbhakarna had been Hiranyaksha, who had met his end through Vishnu in his Varaha (boar form) avatar (incarnation). Ravana was born as Hiranyakashipu, the father of the child devotee Prahlad, and his end was at the hands of Vishnu’s incarnation Narasimha (half-lion and half human).

 

 

Thousands of drums were rolled and beaten near his huge ears. Entire battalions of of elephants were marched over his gigantic supine form. Whole armies of soldiers poked him with sharp weapons. Finally their efforts paid off: Kumbhakarna woke up.

 

Ravana narrated to him all the events taking place: from the abduction of Sita to the battle being waged by Rama’s army. Kumbhakarna severely criticized Ravana’s action of kidnapping Sita. He told Ravan bluntly that “Sita is a veritable Goddess, and Rama an incarnation of Vishnu. According to the terms of Narad’s prophecy, the end of our Rakshasa clan is now certain.”

Kumbhakarna severely criticized Ravana’s action of kidnapping Sita. He told Ravan bluntly that “Sita is a veritable Goddess, and Rama an incarnation of Vishnu. According to the terms of Narad’s prophecy, the end of our Rakshasa clan is now certain.”

“However, he said, I will go and fight for you, and meet an auspicious death at Rama’s hand.” Kumbhakarna then drank up a thousand jugs of liquor and ate hundreds of animals as his last meal. Then he walked to the battlefield. Every step he took, shook the earth beneath. Vibheeshan then informed Shri Rama that Kumbhakarna was awake and approaching the battlefield. He went forward and paid his respects to his elder brother, bowing before him. He told him how he had been insulted by Ravana, and had come to Shri Rama for refuge. Kumbhakarna praised Vibhishana for his decision, and then set to work upon the battlefield.

 

He caught hold of hundreds of vanaras (monkeys) and began to eat them. Many were crushed under his feet. Many of the monkeys Kumbhakarna gobbled up were able to escape out his huge ears and nose. There was mayhem in Rama’s army, but then Rama picked up his bow and reassured his people. In a matter of moments, Rama had cut off Kumbhakarna’s head and cut his torso in two with his arrows.

 

The Gods in heaven sounded drums of joy and the Vanara soldiers whooped with joy crying aloud, “Jai Jai, (victory, victory)!” Having met his end at Shri Rama’s hands ensured that Kumbhakarna gained vast amounts of merit in his afterlife.

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