Rama Pursues Kakasura with a Magical Grass-Arrow
Page from a dispersed series of the Ramayana
Artist/maker unknown, Indian
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Dressed in leaves, Rama (blue), his wife Sita, and his brother Lakshmana (white) sit near their newly built hut at Chitrakut, where they will spend eleven years in exile. They have just killed an antelope and ritually prepare it as part of an ancient rite to purify their new home. Suddenly Sita is attacked by Kakasura (crow demon), an evil son of the god Indra. Rama plucks a blade of grass and, by speaking a powerful mantra, turns it into an arrowlike weapon. The grass-arrow chases the terrified crow until he returns to beg Rama's forgiveness. Although these events take place in the Aranyakanda (the third section of the Ramayana), the crow demon story is told only as a flashback in a later section. In this elegant composition, the crow appears seven times, pursued by the radiating white lines of the grass-arrow.