Sri Rama has been given the order to shoot his arrow and kill the demoness Tataka who has been disturbing the performance of fire rituals. Rama was thinking for a moment about how it could be executed as he saw that Tataka was a woman. Sage Vishwamitra had already cautioned him quoting from history about how even women who perpetuated evil actions needed to be killed. Rama was convincing himself about how he was acting on the behest of his father’s preceptor and Sage Vishwamitra’s command and not on his own accord.
He convinced himself that as a Kshatriya prince, it was his duty to protect the animals and the good people who worked for the welfare of the world. He realised it was his duty to destroy anyone who disturbed their work. Thinking on these lines, he strung his bow and fitted the arrow to it. He let out a big cry of victory which resounded through the silent forest. While the sound disturbed the forest-dwellers, Tataka got angry and deluded by the sound.
Rama called Lakshmana to look at the gigantic, contorted and fearsome form of the yaksha woman. Any weak-hearted person would break at her mere sight. Rama was planning to only chop of her ears, nose, hands and legs and allow her to go, as she was a woman.
On seeing the two brothers, Tataka roared in anger and charged towards Rama. Sage Vishwamitra gave a loud shout of “Hum” to encourage the brothers to charge towards her. There ensued a great battle between Rama and Tataka and a big cloud of dust collected above them in the sky for an hour and a half. She showered huge rocks and boulders on the brothers. They answered her advances with a rain of arrows. Rama dismembered her arms and Lakshmana freed her of her ears and nose tip. Capable of wielding magical powers, Tataka became invisible and continued to attack.
Sage Vishwamitra now sounded a warning to Sri Rama: “O Rama, now the sandhya kalam (twilight period) is approaching. The yakshi will become powerful. Do not hesitate thinking she is a woman.” Though she was invisible, Rama had the capacity to attack hearing the direction of the sound. As she continued to shower boulders and the brothers returned with arrows, Tataka was enraged. She appeared charging before Rama. He gave her one thumping shot on the chest and the ogress fell down dead.
All the gods gathered there to congratulate the mighty accomplishment of the two brothers. Indra, the king of all the gods, made a special appearance to tell Vishwamitra to impart the knowledge of all missiles to Sri Rama.
The author is Sevak, Chinmaya Mission, Tiruchi; firstname.lastname@example.org