Meticulous Details of Funerals of Vali, Jatayu and Ravana (Post No.3791)

Written by London swaminathan


Date: 5 APRIL 2017


Time uploaded in London:-19-37


Post No. 3791


Pictures are taken from various sources; thanks.






First part of this article, “Interesting Funerary Customs during Ramayana Period” (Post No.3782) was posted on 2nd APRIL 2017




Valmiki amazes us by giving us very minute details.


Following is the second and final Part:-


“On the 11th day of the funeral of Dasaratha, Bharata donated gold and gems to the Brahmins. The donation list includes cows and goats, male and female servants, chariots and special mansions!


When Bharata broke the news of Dasaratha’s death to Rama in the forest Rama fainted and looked like an elephant crushed by a landslide. Another simile Valmiki used was Rama fell like a tree with its flowering branches that is severed by an axe in the forest.


Sita also felt sad and Rama consoled her. Then he said to Lakshmana, “ Bring the pressed pulp of the Ingudi tree and fresh bark so that we may proceed with the water rite for our magnanimous father. Let Sita go first, you follow her and I will be the last in the funeral procession. Sumatara, Chief Minister, held Rama’s hand and led them to the Mandakini River. There they offered the water to Dasaratha, saying ‘Father, may this prove agreeable to you.’ Then Rama turned towards south and offered water again saying, ‘I offer it to you. Let it reach you in the region of your ancestors. Then Rama offered Pinda. He placed the pulp of the Ingudi tree mixed with Badari fruits on the Dharba grass.


( Though we don’t use Ingudi pulp and Badari fruits nowadays, Dharba grass is used until now.)


Then Rama killed demon Viradha, by throwing his body into a pit, at his request. We didn’t know what happened to his body. Viradha was the one ho suggested that he must be thrown into a pit


Jatayu cremated! (Aranya Kanda)


When Jatayu died half way through his speech, Rama decided to give the honour by cremating him. He instructed Lakshmana to bring the fuel. Then Rama himself placed the King of Winged Creatures on the funeral pyre and ignited the flame. Then Rama went into the forest with his brother, killing a few fat Rohi deer, stewed the flesh on the green grass as an oblation to the bird. Tearing off the flesh of those deer and kneading it into balls, he offered it. He recited those sacred formulas uttered by the Brahmins so as to send Jatayu’s soul to heaven. Both the brothers went to the river, bathed and did Udaka ceremony (ritual presentation of water to the ancestors).


Vali’s Funeral Rites (Kishkinda Kanda)


Vali (Bali) was the monkey king. When he was killed by Rama, Sugriva, Tara and others were grief stricken. Lakshmana says to Sugriva, “Inaugurate obsequies without delay with the assistance of Tara and Angada. Issue the order that a large quantity of dry would be gathered together with the sacred sandal wood, for the funeral pyre. Let Angada bring garlands and robes of every kind, together with butter, oil, perfumes and all that is requisite. O Tara, you do find a palanquin without delay. Let those who are skilful and strong, accustomed to palanquins, hold themselves in readiness to bear Vali away.

Vali’s body was placed in a chariot with beautiful carvings. Priceless ornaments, strings of pearls and splendid crowns gave it a dazzling appearance; it was covered with clay, painted red and sprinkled with sandal paste. Festooned with wraths of lotuses, shining like the dawn, it was strewn with innumerable flowers.


“ Having laid the corpse on its couch, Sugriva covered the body with ornaments of every kind together with wreaths and cloths. The great monkey leader preceded the litter, scattering jewels of every kind in profusion. All the wives of Vali accompanied the procession. Angada ignited the funeral pyre. He circumambulated it. Rama officiated at the funeral rites.


Valmiki gave all the minute details of the funeral ceremony. Normally people consider it inauspicious to talk about it. But Valmiki was very descriptive. Thanks to him, now we know how it was done several thousand years ago. For great saints like Valmiki, life and death are like changing worn-out clothes.


Ravana’s Funeral (Yuddha Kanda)


When Ravana was killed by Rama in the final battle, his brother Vibhishana refused to do the cremation. But Rama asked him to do it saying, “ Death brings enmity to an end”.


At these words of Raghava, Bibishana hastened to carry out the funeral rites.


Entering the City of Lanka, that Indra began to prepare for the Agnihotra Ceremony in honour of his brother. Carts, wood of varying essences, fire utensils, sandal, logs of every kind, fragrant gums, perfumes, cloths, jewels, pearls and coral were all assembled by him and he soon returned surrounded by titans, whereupon accompanied by Malyavan, he initiated the sacrifice.

Having placed Ravana, the Supreme Lord of the titans, wrapped in linen cloth, s on a golden bier, the Twice born with Bibishana at their head, their eyes suffused with tears, raised the litter decorated with many fragrant and divine symbols to the sound of innumerable music instruments and funeral chants and all, turning their faces towards the south took up pieces of wood which had been distributed among them.


Then the Brahmins, versed in the Yajur Veda, bearing flaming brands went forward and those who had taken refuge with them and the women of the inner apartments followed sobbing with tottering steps, running hither and thither. And Ravana was placed in a spacious ground, amidst profound lamentation and a great pyre was built with pieces of sandal and Padmaka wood and grass, according to tradition; and he was covered with antelope skins.


Thereafter in honour of the King of the Titans, a rare offering was made to the ancestors and the altar was installed to the south-west with the sacred fire in its proper place. Then curd and clarified butter were poured on Ravana’s shoulder and a wooden mortar placed at his feet with one between his thighs. Vessels of wood and the lower and upper sticks, with a spare pestle, were set there to the prescribed rules.


Now the titans sacrificed a goat in honour of their king, according to tradition, as taught by the great Rishis, and, dipped a cloth in butter, they covered the face of their sovereign, who was adorned with garlands and sprinkled with perfumes. Thereafter Bibisbana’s companions, their faces bathed in tears, covered the body with cloths and every kind of roasted grain, whereupon Bibishana kindled the fires according to the sacred rites and, having laved him with a cloth which had been previously wetted with water and mingled with linseed and sacrificial grass, be bowed down to him; then he addressed the consorts of Ravana again and again in order to console them, finally entreating them to return home. And when they had all re-entered the City of Lanka, that Indra among the Titans, took up his place by Rama in an attitude of reverence.


A lot of details are here about the funeral of a Rakshasa King. It differs in many ways with the modern funeral. But in a vast country like India with thousands of castes and sub castes the funeral rites differ widely from area to area.

In Dasaratha’s funeral Sama Veda was used and here in Ravana’s funeral Yajur Veda was used.


Earlier in Aranya Kanda, we came across the shapeless demon Kabandha who was killed by Rama and Lakshmana. he was also cremated by the brothers; though he melted like butter in the fire, he rose up from the ashes, wearing spotless raiment ad a celestial garland. Now he looked very handsome and wore ornaments in his limbs and ascended a chariot drawn by swans. Before ascending to heaven he instructed Rama and Lakshmana to meet Sabhari, a female ascetic.

The chapters on funerals raise many questions. If Vyasa was the one who divided Vedas into four, how come Valmiki mentioned two different Vedas. Probably the Vedas were known as Rik, Sama and Yajjur already and Vyasa allocated the portions to his four disciples for preservation. Why two different Vedas were used in two different funerals is also another debatable matter.


The funeral processions were pompous, but we must remember they were ones for kings like Dasaratha,Bali (Vali) and Ravana


Lot of Dhanams (gifts) were given to Brahmins. Bird Jatayu, Demon Ravana, Monkey Vali/Bali and Human Dasaratha were cremated according to the scriptures. So there were no caste differences among them. Thanks to Valmiki we learnt a lot which can be compared with the funeral rites in the Smrtis and other cultures.



Kiskindha Kanda Pictures from Valmiki Ramayana

Written by London swaminathan

Post No.1850; Date: 7 May 2015

Uploaded at London time: 7-51 am

You have seen the pictures of Balakanda, Ayodhya Kanda and Aranya Kanda already in my previous posts. Now you can enjoy the beautiful pictures drawn one hundred years. Pictures are from Picture Ramayana book.


Rama and Lakshmana went to Lake Pampa. Sugriva was afraid to see two mighty heroes from the top of Rishyamuka hill. He sent Maruti (Hanuman/Anjaneya) to find out who they were. Maruti/Hanuman went on a fact finding mission (scouting) and found out they were good people. Immediately he told them the sad story of Sugriva whose wife was abducted by his brother Vali. Maruti wanted to form an alliance with him so that they could help Sugriva in the Rescue Mission. Rama who was on the same boat, readily agreed. Then Maruti took the brothers to Sugriva, the King of Monkeys.

Rama – Sugriva Agreement:-KISHKINDHA KANDA PICTURE 2 (Ramayana Picture No.31) Rama and Sugriva took an oath, in the presence of sacred fire, to be friends even unto death and to help each other in all their undertakings. Then Sugriva brought the ornaments and garments cast down by Sita and showed them to Rama. He recognised them. Lakshmana could recognise Sita’s anklets. Rama promised Sugriva to kill Vali and make him the King of Monkeys again. Sugriva promised Rama to find Sita. An agreement was reached. In those days they did not sign any agreement but took an oath in front of Fire like we do during weddings nowadays. That is more than a written agreement.

KISHKINDHA KANDA PICTURE 3 (Ramayana Picture No.32)

VALI KILLED BY RAMA :-Once Vali fought with a demon named Dundubhi in a cave; Vali asked his friend Sugriva to guard the entrance but he did not come out for several days. Sugriva thought that Vali was dead and crowned himself as the king. When Vali killed Dundubhi and tried to come out, the cave was shut. He was angry and so dethroned Sugriva when he managed to come out. Sugriva took refuge in Rishyamukha Mountain which is a ‘No Go zone’ for Vali because of a curse. When Rama was ready to help, Sugriva asked Vali to come for a duel. Rama killed Vali from behind a tree. Lot of debates were done by scholars whether it was right to kill one hiding behind the tree. But the answer is in Vali’s final words. He himself praised Rama for upholding Dharma. After Vali’s death, Sugriva was crowned as the King of Kiskindha.

Sugriva’s Faithlessness:-KISHKINDHA KANDA PICTURE 4 (Ramayana Picture No.33) Sugriva stopped visiting Rama after he became the king. Rama was waiting for him at the Mountain Prasravana. He became very much worried about Sita. His brother Lakshmana consoled him.

Angry Lakshmana:-KISHKINDHA KANDA PICTURE 5 (Ramayana Picture No.34) Ordered by Rama, Lakshmana went to Kiskindha and reproached Sugriva severely for not honouring his agreement. Sugriva was enjoying life with his wives Tara, Ruma and others. When Lakshmana was angry, Sugriva hid himself behind Tara. She pacified Lakshmana who brought Sugriva into Rama’s presence.

GOLD JEWELS in RAMAYANA:-KISHKINDHA KANDA PICTURE 6 (Ramayana Picture No.35):Sugriva yielded to Rama and summoned all his force at Mount Prasravana. It was divided into four squadrons. Since they knew Ravana went towards South the elite commandos Maruti (Hanuman) and Angada were selected for the mission towards the south. Rama described the features of Sita to them and gave him his ring, which Sita could recognise easily. Women should note here that Indians used gold from time immemorial for good purpose. Sita threw her jewels for identification. Rama sent his ring for identification. Sita sent back her Choodamani. Kalidasa used this technique in two of his dramas.

STORY OF HANUMAN-KISHKINDHA KANDA PICTURE 7 and 8 (Ramayana Picture No.36 & 37Maruti was born on a full moon day in Chaitra. When his mother Anjana went to get him some fruits he tried to catch the sun and got burnt. When Indra came to know about it he started attacking him. Then Maruti was hurt and he got a scarred chin. That is why he is called Hanuman. Anajaneya/Maruti/Hanuman is a SUPERMAN. All the comics such as Superman, Spiderman are based upon him. (Scientific explanation: On the day Maruti was born there was a Lunar eclipse followed by Rains. He fell down and broke his chin. Probably that led to the story of him catching the sun, fighting with Inda/thunder and Hanuman/fell and broke his chin)

Hanuman Selected–KISHKINDHA KANDA PICTURE 9 (Ramayana Picture No.38)

Hanuman, Jambavan and Angada encountered many difficulties and reached the shores of southern ocean. Jatayu’s brother Sampati came and told them that Ravana kept Sita at Ashokavana in Lanka. It was unanimously decided by the monkeys that Hanuman should cross the ocean and search for Sita. Accordingly Hanuman climbed the Mahendra mountain and prepared to cross the ocean. (Kiskindha Kanda finito. Next comes Sundara Kanda)


Arya Putra Ravana Spoke Sanskrit! Hanuman spoke Prakrta!

Written by London swaminathan

Research Article No.1848; Date: 6 May 2015

Uploaded at London time: 8-43 am


Sanskrit was spoken by all the well educated people in ancient India. Sanskrit was the language used as official language in all the Royal courts. Dance, Drama and Music used Sanskrit. All the Tamil dictionaries and ancient Tamil Nighandus give Sanskrit words as Tamil words!!! In short there is no ancient Tamil literature without Sanskrit words. They treated both Tamil and Sanskrit as their two eyes. The oldest Tamil book Tolkappiam has a lot of Sanskrit words. He even formulated rules to use Sanskrit words in Tamil literature. His book was certified and approved by the Acharya of Tiruvithankodu who had mastered the four Vedas. All these details are documented in literature.

Sanskrit was the link language throughout India. Ravana and Hanuman were great Sanskrit scholars. Ravana mastered Sama Veda as well. Tamil poets were well versed in Sanskrit. Kapila taught Tamil to a North Indian King named Brahma Dutta who ridiculed Tamil and made him to write poems in Tamil. His poems are included in 2000 year old Sangam Tamil literature. Kovalan, hero of Tamil epic Silappadikaram, helped a Brahmin woman who was crying in the street holding a letter written in Sanskrit by her husband. Kamban who adapted Valmiki Ramayana in Tamil was a great Sanskrit scholar.

Hanuman’s Hesitation!

Hanuman hesitated to speak Sanskrit thinking that Sita would mistake him for Ravana (Ramayana, canto 30)

Ravana and his spies spoke in Sanskrit. So when Hanuman went to Asokavana, he thinks:

“Shall I, a puny Vanar, chose

The Sanskrit men delight to use?

If, as a man of Brahman kind,

I speak the tongue by rules refined.

The lady, yielding to her fears,

Will think’ it’s Ravana’s voice she hears.

I must assume my only plan-

The language of a common man”

—Translated by T H Griffith

The language of the common man in those days was Prakrit. In Sanskrit dramas women (even queens), children, court jester spoke Prakrit. Kings, ministers and Brahmins spoke Sanskrit. Low characters (in dramas) like fishermen, policemen spoke in dialect.

In Sudraka’s Mrccakatika, the comedian (jester) says,“ I hate a woman speaking Sanskrit and a man singing”. It is followed until this day in Tamil and Hindi films. Kings or high officers or heroes speak a chaste language and low characters like village folk, comedians speak in dialect or colloquial language. We also speak a dialect or colloquial language at home but when we go to a stage and speak in front of a huge crowd we speak literal, posh language. So Hanuman also wanted to be very careful in choosing his language.

Aryaputra Ravana!

In the Ramayana Ravana and Vali were addressed as Arya while Kaikeyi was addressed as Anarya ( Non-Arya i.e. uncultured, uncivilized)

Door Keepers of Ravana’s palace addressed him Aryaputra (Yuddha Kanda, Sarga32, Sloka 35)

Vijayasvaryaputreti soabivadhya prasadya cha

Nyavaidayadanuprasam prahastam vaahiniipatim

In the following sloka of Kiskindha Kanda of Valmiki Ramayana, Vali was addressed as Aryaputra by his wife Tara

Supteva punaruththaaya aaryaputreti vaadinii

Ruroda saa patim drstvaa samviitam ptrunyudamabih

In the Sloka 14 of Sarga 36 of Ayodhya kanda, Kaikeyi was addressed as Anarya by King Dasaratha

Vahantam kim tudasi maam niyujya dhuri maahite

Anaarye krtyamaarangam kim purvamupaarudhah


Writing during Ramayana Days

We know that Hanuman was well versed in Nava vyakarana. All the monkeys wrote Ram on the stones and they started floating in water. Rama gave his ring to Hanuman as a token to be shown to Sita. His name was engraved on it. Hindus used scripts, but sparsely.

T H Griffith’s translation of relevant Valmiki verse is as follows:

He gave the ring that bore his name,

A token for the captive dame,

That the sad lady in her woe

The missive of her lord might know.

‘This ring’, he said, ‘my wife will see,

Nor fear an envoy sent by me…’

Since writing was prevalent in ancient India, Asoka installed hundreds of rock edicts in Brahmi script from Afghanistan to Kancheepuram in Tamil Nadu (Most of the edicts including Kanchi’s) were destroyed by the Muslim invaders and the monsoon weather. Brahmi inscriptions were available up to the Southern Sri Lanka 2600 years ago!!

Pictures are taken from various websites; thanks.