“Rama showed His tremendous knowledge of fighting by killing the demon Tataka. The muni then gave to Him knowledge of secret mantras to be used in fighting.” (Janaki Mangala, 36)
बधी ताड़का राम जानि सब लायक।
बिद्या मंत्र रहस्य दिए मुनिनायक।।
badhī tāṛakā rāma jāni saba lāyaka |
bidyā mantra rahasya di’e munināyaka ||
Friend1: I was thinking recently about the pastime with Shri Rama in the forest with Vishvamitra.
Friend2: Where Rama is accompanied by His younger brother Lakshmana?
Friend1: Yes. This is after Vishvamitra had asked King Dasharatha for protection.
Friend2: You know, your average request of:
“Hey, can you spare your two beloved sons? It’s no big deal; I just need help defending myself against vile killers who attack in the night.”
Friend1: Who mask their shapes so as to not be noticed.
Friend2: There were no WiFi security cameras around at that time. No night-vision goggles.
Friend1: But I’ve heard it said that Rama can identify people based on sound.
Friend2: He is antaryami, after all. The Supreme Lord is the all-pervading witness. Yes, in His incarnation as the bow-warrior named Rama there was the ability to shoot arrows to meet their target without requiring sight.
Friend1: This wasn’t shooting blindly, either. Anyway, I was particularly meditating on the incident with Tataka.
Friend2: The female Rakshasa who was harassing the saintly people in the forests?
Friend1: That’s her. I just don’t understand why someone would do that.
Friend2: Bother sages or go to the forest and live there permanently?
Friend1: The first one. As you said, these are sages. They aren’t bothering anyone. They are retreating from the daily pressures of ordinary life. Free of distractions, they can concentrate on yajna.
Friend2: The Rakshasas attacking from Lanka were particularly focused on the timing. They would pounce just as a yajna was ready to complete. Something like watching a person build a puzzle for hours. Once they are ready to insert the final piece, you come along and destroy the whole thing.
Friend1: Except this was much more serious than a puzzle. Why would someone do that? Why would a person attack in such a horrible way, without being noticed? What was there to gain? It’s not like the sages were hiding gold in their huts.
Friend2: Well, what do you think the reason was?
Friend1: Other than asuras are just horrible people?
Friend2: They have the worst qualities. It is saintly to leave people alone, to not interfere with their lives. Saintly people tend to respect even the animals and insects that enter their home.
Friend1: Okay, but if you are not a saintly person you don’t have to go to that extreme. Why not just leave others alone?
Friend2: Because suras are always a threat to the asuras. In this case, there was the direct correlation to the demigods. By performing yajna, the administrators of this material realm receive strength. These leaders are put into that position by the Supreme Lord. Asuras are against God; by extension they are against His administrators.
Friend1: Okay, but those demigods will help the bad guys on occasion. You can worship them and gain tremendous power and influence.
Friend2: Why worship them when you can defeat? Why falsely pay homage when you can cut off their source? By removing the influence of good in the world, evil has a clear path towards dominance.
Friend1: But why would you want to live like that? I don’t understand.
Friend2: It is inherent in the travel to the material world. Dominate. Enjoy. Compete with others. They are asuras for a reason. There is justification for Shri Rama to personally intervene. He protects the devotion of the devotees. Tataka cannot hide behind the false excuse of being a female.
Friend1: There is that issue, too. Change shapes. Attack in secret. Then invoke some principle of dharma to protect yourself, when it is convenient.
Friend2: Rama is mindful of the codes of dharma, but Vishvamitra insists that lethal force be applied. Rama is ready to follow the instructions of those who are devoted to Him. This means that He can help me in my fight against the asura-mentality through the chanting of the holy names: Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.
Help in this effort granting,
Against obstacles for chanting.
Like for sages providing relief,
From asuras endless grief.
Arrows in air their targets found,
Rama fighting using only sound.
The best protection for saintly life,
Ever devoted to He and His wife.