Author: P. Lal
Translator(s)/ Edito: P. Lal
Publisher: Writers Workshop
ISBN/UPC (if available): 8181575695
Pushpotkata, Raka and Malini. The first gives birth to Ravana and Kumbhakarna; the second to Khara and Surpankha; the third to Vibhishana who is the handsomest and becomes the general of Kubera. There is no incident of his arguing with Ravana and being kicked out of Lanka. Instead, here he comes direct with four advisers to Rama, presumably from Kubera’s realm. Brahma dispatches a Gandharvi named Dundubhi to be born as Manthara and bring about Rama’s exile – a detail not found in Valmiki.
There is a detailed account of the war but no incident of Garuda reviving the brothers entwined in Indrajit’s serpent arrows, nor does Hanuman fetch anything to resuscitate the mortally wounded Lakshmana. Instead, Vibhishana washes the brothers’ eyes with a special solution sent by Kubera whereby Lakshmana can see through Indrajit’s veil of invisibility and slay him. Thus, surreptitiously, through Vibhishana, Kubera takes avenges himself on Ravana. After the war when Rama rejects Sita suspecting her chastity, she collapses but there is no entering the fire. It is left to Brahma to announce that because of Nalakubera’s curse Ravana did not dare rape her. The story ends with the return to Ayodhya after Rama has sent Hanuman in advance to ascertain Bharat’s intentions. There is no touch of avatara in this Rama and Sita.
Markandeya urges Yudhishthira not to lament, but to use arms to achieve success, particularly when Rama, without the help of four heroic brother as Yudhishthira has, could destroy the mighty demon and his huge army assisted merely by “black-faced bears/and beast-like tree-men”.
Yudhishthira now shifts tack from himself to ask if there has been any woman as famous and as dedicated to her spouse as Draupadi. That elicits the riveting story of Savitri.