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Sri Rama slaying demoness Tataka

(Ref: Valmiki Ramayana - Bala Kanda - 24 to 28)

Sri Rama in Tataka ForestMeditation: I meditate on Sri Rama slaying demoness Tataka at Tataka Vanam and making the forest shine like the garden of Chitra Ratha.

1. Sri Rama reaching Tataka forest: Sri Rama reaches Tataka forest after crossing the river at Anga province (which is at the confluence of rivers Ganga and Sarayu). The forest appears to be very horrible and uninhabited, and fraught with fearful predators, vultures and crickets. Sri Rama sees the forest filled with trees like Dhava, Ashvakarna, Arjuna, Bilva, Tinduka, Patala and Badari. Sri Rama enquires about the forest from sage Vishwamitra.

2. Sage Vishwamitra telling the story of demoness Tataka: Sage Vishwamitra tells about the forest and the story of demoness Tataka. The forest region was previously two great provinces known as Malada and Karusha which were designed by gods. When Indra killed Vritra (who was a brahmin), Indra became stained with impurities. The gods and sages gave bath to Indra to rid him of his defilements. The earth absorbed the impurities of Indra here which made Indra pure again. Consequently Indra gave a boon that this place will become prosperous and renown in the world as two great provinces known as Malada and Karusha. These provinces were affluent for a very long time till a demoness named Tataka (who was the wife of Sunda) and her son Mareecha took control of the place and started harassing the inhabitants. Tataka was the daughter of a yaksha named Suketu who was childless. Suketu performed penance and got Tataka as a boon from Lord Brahma. Lord Brahma endowed Tataka with the strength of thousand elephants. When Tataka grew up she was given in marriage to Sunda, the son of Jambha. They had a son named Mareecha. Sunda was killed by a curse of sage Agastya. Enraged by this, Tataka and Mareecha attacked the sage. Sage Agastya cursed Mareecha to become a demon. He then cursed Tataka to become a man-eater with a distorted and monstrous form. Since then Tataka started tormenting the inhabitants in this area along with his son Mareecha (Valmiki Ramayana - Bala Kanda - 24 to 25).

3. Sri Rama killing demoness Tataka: Commanded by sage Vishwamitra, Sri Rama prepares to eliminate Tataka. Sri Rama makes a thunderous sound with his bow-string. Tataka in anger rushes towards the direction from where the sound emanated. Seeing Rama and Lakshmana, Tataka raises a cloud of dust and starts raining stones on them. Sri Rama stops the stones with his arrows and then chops her arms. Lakshmana chops off her ears and tip of her nose. Tataka starts changing guise and attacks Rama and Lakshmana in various ways with storms of stones. Sri Rama out of compassion tries to spare her life because she was a female. But Vishwamitra tells Rama not to entertain any compassion for her who was a destroyer of rituals. She needs to be eliminated before sunset after which the demons become unassailable. Thereafter Sri Rama aims an arrow towards her chest which makes her fall down and die. The gods praise Rama for this great act (Valmiki Ramayana - Bala Kanda - 26).

4. Sri Rama spending a night there: After killing demoness Tataka, Sri Rama spends a night in that forest. The forest becomes free from the influence of Tataka and by the presence of Sri Rama shines like the garden of Chitra Ratha.

5. Sri Rama receiving divine weapons: Pleased with the gentle disposition and act of Sri Rama, sage Vishwamitra confers various divine weapons to Sri Rama. These include Danda Chakra, Dharma Chakra, Kala Chakra, Vishnu Chakra, Indra Chakra, Brahmashira and many more. Sage Vishwamitra also gives mantras to annul the missiles (Valmiki Ramayana - Bala Kanda - 27 to 28).


Tataka Vanam, Buxar district, Bihar Tataka Forest is identified with Tataka Vanam in the Buxar district of Bihar.

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Last updated on Sep-2021

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