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Story Of Ravana Fighting Yama

Once upon a time, Ravana, the mighty demon king of Lanka, encountered the celestial sage Narada. Narada informed him that the people on Earth were discontent because they had to face Yama, the god of death, when their time on Earth ended. Upon hearing this, Ravana, in his arrogance and desire for dominance, decided to confront Yama and put an end to his rule over life and death.

Narada, always eager for a spectacle, decided to follow Ravana and witness the impending clash. Being a celestial sage with the ability to travel swiftly, Narada reached Yama's abode before Ravana. Yama, the stern and just deity, greeted Narada with respect and inquired about his sudden visit, considering he usually consorted with the Trimurti—Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva.

Narada warned Yama of Ravana's approach and his intent to challenge the god of death. Yama, with his penetrating vision, saw Ravana approaching in the distance, riding the magnificent Pushpaka chariot, a gift from Brahma that could travel anywhere at the speed of thought.

As Ravana entered Yama's realm, he observed the just rewards being given to the pious and the severe punishments meted out to sinners. Outraged by the suffering of the sinners, Ravana demanded that Yama's helpers cease their torturous duties. The helpers, bound by their duty, explained that they were merely executing the punishments earned by the souls for their actions on Earth. They also warned Ravana that his own sins were being recorded and he would eventually face judgment.

Ravana's temper flared at this defiance, and he began attacking the helpers with his formidable array of weapons. The confrontation escalated as Yama himself, the son of the sun god Surya, mounted his chariot and came forth to engage Ravana in combat.

A fierce and thunderous battle ensued between the two powerful beings. Yama, realizing the gravity of the situation, decided to use his ultimate weapon, the noose of death, capable of ending any life. As he prepared to hurl the noose at Ravana, Brahma, the creator god, intervened.

Brahma informed Yama that Ravana was fated to die at the hands of Vishnu, who would incarnate as a human in the future. Hence, Yama's noose would have no effect on the demon king. Respecting the decree of destiny, Yama refrained from using the noose.

Despite the intense battle, Ravana's army eventually scattered, leaving Ravana to face Yama alone. The clash was brutal and relentless, with neither able to gain a definitive advantage over the other. Heeding Brahma's advice, Yama chose to become invisible, effectively removing himself from the battle.

Ravana, misinterpreting Yama's disappearance as a retreat born of fear, reveled in his supposed victory. Convinced of his invincibility, Ravana returned to Lanka, his arrogance and hubris further inflated by what he believed was his triumph over the god of death.

This story is found in the Krittibasi Ramayana.