By Swami Harshananda
Indrajit literally means ‘One who had conquered Indra’.
Indrajit was the most formidable enemy in Rāvaṇa’s army, encountered by Rāma and Lakṣmaṇa. He was the son of Rāvaṇa from his chief queen Maṇḍodarī. As soon as he was born, he thundered like the rain-clouds. Hence he was given the name ‘Meghanāda’ which means ‘one who roared like the rain clouds’.
Many adventures were accounted to him. He once fought with Indra, the king of gods, and defeated him. Thus he got the appellation ‘Indrajit’. When Hanumān was causing a havoc in the Aśoka grove after meeting Sitā, Indrajit captured him using the ultimate weapon, the Brahmāstra.
In the war with Rāma, he once made Rāma and Lakṣmaṇa swoon with his Nāgapāśa. They were later rescued by Garuḍa. Another magical device that he used to cheat the enemy was creating a false Sītā and beheading her before the enemy’s army. He was finally killed by Lakṣmaṇa who first destroyed the Nikumbhilā sacrifice performed by him with the help of the army of the monkeys and then used the Aindrāstra.
According to the Adhyātma Rāmāyana, Indrajit had obtained a boon from Brahmā that only he who had observed strict celibacy for twelve years could kill him. Lakṣmaṇa fulfilled this condition, hence could kill him.
- Nāgapāśa means serpent-weapon.
- Garuda means the eagle-mount of Viṣṇu.
- Yuddhakānda, 9
- The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore