(Continued from Part 2)
In the previous article, we recounted how Lord Rama, Sita, and Lakshmana spent their time in the forest. We described how the demon Surpanakha endeavored to seduce Rama and was punished in the process. We have depicted the terrible war between Rama and the brothers of Surpanakha, Khara, and Dushana. They had attacked Rama with their formidable army of fourteen thousand Rakshasas. We have also described how a lusty Ravana kidnapped Sita and carried her to Lanka.
A mortally wounded Jatayu described to Rama how Ravana, the king of demons, abducted Sita and flew towards the South. Jatayu cried that he attempted his best but being old, he was defeated by Ravana. As Jatayu passed away, Rama and Lakshmana performed his last rites. As the two brothers continued searching for Sita, they encountered a Rakshasa named Kabandha, whose strength lay in his arms. After a brief fight, Rama cut off the arms of the Rakshasa. Kabandha then revealed that he was previously a Gandharva and had been cursed into Rakshasa life as he had made fun of sage Ashtavakra, whose body was bent in eight places. Now that Rama and Lakshmana were killing Kabandha, he would be able to return to his Gandharva life. Regaining his Gandharva form, Kabandha proposed that Rama and Lakshmana form a pact and ally with Sugriva, a leader of the monkeys. Vali, his elder brother, had exiled Sugriva. If Rama helped Sugriva regain his kingdom, he would become obliged to assist Rama in finding Sita. Kabandha also informed Rama that Sugriva could be found near the site of sage Matanga’s hermitage on Lake Pampa.