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Tataka Forest

(Ref: Valmiki Ramayana - Bala Kanda - 24 to 27)

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

Sri Rama reaches Tataka forest after crossing the river at Anga province: Sri Rama reached the Tataka forest after crossing the river at Anga province (which is the confluence of rivers Ganga and Sarayu). The forest appeared to be very horrible and uninhabited. It was fraught with fearful predators, vultures and crickets. The forest trees included Dhava, Ashvakarna, Arjuna, Bilva, Tinduka, Patala and Badari trees. Sri Rama enquired about the forest from sage Vishwamitra.

Sage Vishwamitra tells the story of demoness Tataka: Sage Vishwamitra then told 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.

Sri Rama kills demoness Tataka: Commanded by sage Vishwamitra, Sri Rama undertook to eliminate Tataka. He made a thunderous sound with his bow-string. Tataka in anger rushed towards the direction from where the sound emanated. Seeing Rama and Lakshmana, Tataka raised a cloud of dust and started raining stones on them. Sri Rama stopped the stones with his arrows and then chopped her arms. Lakshmana chopped off her ears and tip of her nose. Tataka started changing guise and attacked Rama and Lakshmana in various ways with storms of stones. Sri Rama out of compassion tried to spare her life because she was a female. But Vishwamitra told Rama not to entertain any compassion for her who was a destroyer of rituals. She needed to be eliminated before sunset after which the demons become unassailable. Thereafter Sri Rama aimed an arrow towards her chest which made her fall down and die. The gods praised Rama for this great act.

Sri Rama spends a night in the Tataka forest: After killing demoness Tataka, Sri Rama spent a night in that forest. The forest became free from the influence of Tataka and by the presence of Sri Rama shone like the garden of Chitra Ratha.

Sri Rama receives divine weapons from sage Vishwamitra: Pleased with the gentle disposition and act of Sri Rama, sage Vishwamitra conferred 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 gave mantras to annul the missiles.


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

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Meditation on Earth and Life: >>

Om, May there be Peace in Heaven,
May there be Peace in the Sky,
May there be Peace in the Earth,

(Shanti Mantra of Upanishad)

Preserve Nature,
And Nature will preserve Us,
Simplify Life,
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Plant Trees,
And make our planet Green.

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Last updated on Aug-2021

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