I am taking part in the Write Tribe Festival of Words – 1st to 7th September 2013.
This post is the fourth of a series of trying to correlate the Seven Sins to characters and incidents referred to in the Ramayana.
Read Post 1 – Kumbhakarna’s sloth
Read Post 2 – Surpanakha’s lust for Rama
Read Post 3 – Vali’s greed
Please note that there are various versions of this great epic and therefore my post might contradict with what you have heard or read of this particular incident in the Ramayana. This is only an attempt to map the seven deadly sins to incidents or behavior of particular characters in the Ramayana in a given situation and I have taken liberties with my own interpretations of the same. No offense is meant to any version of this wonderful epic.
Read my earlier post about Kumbhakarna’s sloth to get a background of why Kumbhakarna had to continuously sleep for a six month period.
As per the modified terms of the boon, Kumbhakarna was supposed to sleep for six months and then wake up for one day to satiate his hunger. So far the day the he woke up was the day all the servants and cooks in his palace dreaded as this was the day that he would eat almost anything and everything that was prepared in the palace. And in case he didn’t find enough food to satisfy his hunger, then he would start eating anybody that he could lay eyes on, whether they were human or asura did not matter to him on that particular day.
When Rama and his army managed to get an upper hand during the first days of the great war with the asuras, then Ravana had no choice but to try and wake Kumbhakarna up. Although he knew that he would be breaking the terms of the boon granted by Lord Brahma, his situation was so desperate that he was willing to take that chance. This was the only choice he had in the face of the dire circumstances.
It took all of 1000 elephants walking over the gigantic frame of Kumbhakarna accompanied by drum beats and various other assortments of noise making instruments to wake him up. And as was the norm, as soon as he woke up, his hunger took control of him and he wanted food.
When he was informed of the war with Rama and the circumstances under which it was fought, he tried to convince Ravana of the mistakes of his action. However, due to Ravana’s entreaties of brotherhood and loyalty, he chose to fight in the battle. After becoming drunk with somarasa, Kumbhakarna entered the battle and caused unusually large devastation. The army of Rama was at a loss as to how to stop the marauding giant rakshasa. They tried everything in their arsenal but did not manage to even deter him.
Finally, it took Rama himself and his divine powers with his astras to fall the giant.
Although Kumbhakarna did not necessarily die to his gluttonous habits, the fact remains that this memorable character of the Ramayana suffered greatly due to this one deadly sin that he was inflicted with due to the boon granted by Brahma.
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