Ram, Lakshman and Their Army After Meghnaad's Attack

A scene from the Ramayana, the Indian epic that follows Prince Rama's quest to rescue his beloved wife from the demon King Ravana

By National Museum - New Delhi

Ram, Lakshman and their army after Meghnaad's attack (Late 18th Century CE) by UnknownNational Museum - New Delhi

The artist depicts the scene with a lovely cornflower blue sky with floating fluffs of white clouds and verdant trees with exquisitely detailed leaves - contrasting the catastrophe that grips the protagonists and the mood of distress, anguish and nervousness that envelopes them.

The demon king Rava’s courageous son Meghnad has just unleashed a deadly weapon - the naga pasha-  ‘the bind of snakes' and has reduced the two princes of Ayodhya - Rama and Lakshmana into a state of deep sleep.

Making an intelligent use of the hillocks of the landscape, the artist places within them interesting vignettes presenting the various little scenes that weave the main narrative together. 

The central emphasis is placed upon the scene depicting the fallen heroes Rama and Lakshmana surrounded by their army.

Lakshmana looks conscious, slumped against the tree, his eyes are open but sits in a gesture of defeat as the venom of the deadly arrows slowly grip him.

Lakshmana looks conscious, slumped against the tree, his eyes are open but sits in a gesture of defeat as the venom of the deadly arrows slowly grip him.

On the other hand, Rama has already succumbed to the deep sleep induced by the writhing snakes that coil around his body, he lies on the ground gripping tight his shield and bow, his deer skin wrap covering him.

Various gestures of their companions depict their diverse mental states.

Vibhishan, the adversary’s brother, but now in Rama’s camp looks down pensively, as does the king of the Bears, Jambhavan depicted on his left.

The simian brothers Nala and Nila on Vibhishan’s right however wail in desperation, and so does their king Sugriva distinguished by a cloth tied around his crown.

A crowd of restless, agitated and sombre looking monkeys encircle them depicted in various gestures revealing their inner torment. 

One monkey behind Sugriva sinks down, his head bowed in grim resignation, while looming above him another monkey grips a tree trunk in nervous anticipation, and a group of monkeys near him on the right express their shock placing their hands near their mouths.

Beyond the central group a little slope behind them depicts another little story. Courageous monkeys who had battled for Rama, lay fallen.

On top of a small hillock, a group of monkeys attempt to find some solution or an antidote for the poison - one monkey forages the ground, while a few others look up towards the heavens for possible succour.

On the left  Ravana and his demon spies stand huddled at a safe distance attempting to gather information and ascertain the fate of the enemy.

The enemy prince Meghnad who unleashed the magical arrows stands amongst them depicted as the only one with human features.


Above them, tower the golden palaces of the demon king Ravana.

Credits: All media
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