Taraka was fierce rakshasi and with her sons Maricha and Subahu terrorized and devoured anybody who dared to enter the forest near the confluence of the river Sarayu with the Ganga. This forest soon came to be known as Taraka’s forest and nobody had the guts to even go near the place, let alone enter it and try to earn a livelihood in this region.
Fed up with the menace of the rakshasa trio, the great sage Vishwamitra decided to conduct a penance and yajna with his disciples in this particular forest. When he noticed that his disciples were unable to perform the rituals of the yajna properly due to the constant menace of the trio, he decided to approach King Dasaratha for assistance. He went to Ayodhya and requested the King to send his eldest son, Rama, then just a teenage boy of 13 yrs to help him vanquish the demons. Dasaratha had a soft corner for Rama and hesitated to agree to this request of Vishwamitra. However, when the learned Sage Vashista who was the royal guru of Ayodhya instructed the King to send Rama with Vishwamitra, Dasaratha agree to do so. Not to be left behind, Rama’s brother Lakshmana also accompanied him to Taraka’s forest.
When Rama, Lakshmana and Vishwamitra entered the forest, they were almost immediately attacked by Taraka. Rama, with some help from Lakshmana succeeded in felling the foul demon with a well placed astra. Pleased with this outcome, the sage Vishwamitra blessed the young duo, and also gifted them with divine weapons.
Then, the sage took the young princes to the place where the yajna rituals were being conducted and proceeded to restart all the rituals with the boys on guard. The teenage warriors stood guard day and night near the place watching out for any signs of Taraka’s sons, Maricha and Subahu. Despite their constant sleepless vigil, for the first five days they did not notice anything untoward.
However, one thing that they did not know was that they were being watched. When Maricha and Subahu heard the news of their mother’s death, they were shocked and enraged beyond their wits. Shocked because Taraka was a formidable rakshasi who with her knowledge of the dark magic and ferociousness would strike mortal fear into the hearts of even seasoned warriors. And the fact that two teenage boys had managed to kill her struck fear into their hearts.
At the same time, they were enraged as nobody had even dared to think of challenging them and their authority over this forest for many a decade now. And now suddenly these young boys had popped up from nowhere and in one felling swoop managed to kill their mother.
They were therefore watching the activities of Rama and Lakshmana very carefully for the past five days, waiting for the appropriate opportunity to strike back and extract revenge for their mother’s death as well as reclaim the forest, their forest.
On the sixth day, the rakshasa brothers had run out of patience and attacked the yajna from the skies above with their horde of asuras. Despite putting up a mighty and valiant attempt, the entire group of asuras were no match for the battlefield prowess of Rama and Lakshmana. And finally when Subahu was killed by the divine astras of Rama, his brother Maricha fled to the ocean. Thus, the hegemony of the asura brothers over the forest finally ended. Maricha would eventually reappear in Rama’s life, but that story happens quite a few years later.
Thus, even at the very young age of 13 years, Prince Rama clearly showed the world what he was capable of on a battlefield with a bow and his arrows.
Today’s prompt was that post had to include the line one thing that they did not know was that they were being watched and that is the reason this phrase has been specifically highlighted in the post.
This post has been picked as one of Blogadda’s WoW posts of the weekend.