young sons of the rishis were all very much afraid at what had happened to Lava. Weeping
loudly they ran to the ashram and narrated to Sita all that had transpired. She started
weeping tearfully, not knowing what would be her son's fate. And this had happened when
Valmiki was not in the hermitage! She was in confusion as to what should be done now.
When Lava tied the sacrificial horse to a tree, Kusha was not in the ashram. He had
gone out to the forest to bring the holy twigs for worship. When he returned, he saw that
Sita was weeping. He asked her, "Mother, why are you weeping? What happened?"
Amidst loud sobs Sita told him all that had happened. Kusha became red with anger. He
burst out, "Mother, don't be afraid. Even if it is Yama the God of Death who has
taken away my brother, I will break his bones. I do no care for these so-called kings.
Give me my shields, bow and arrows." Sita at once put on him his nail-coat and
fetched his bow and arrows. Kusha prostrated before his mother. "May you
succeed," Sita blessed and bade him farewell.
Kusha chased the army like a whirlwind. Nearing it, he shouted, "Stop! Stop!"
The soldiers did not pay heed to his words and were marching on. Kusha became enraged. He
shot an arrow. It flew with a hissing sound and pierced the back of a soldier who fell
down. At once the whole army stopped and turned to Kusha. The soldiers got ready to fight
with this new boy. But in no time Kusha rained his arrows on them. Many soldiers fell
victims to his arrows and were aground. Shatrughna turned to him and said, "You are
like the young of a deer and do you want to fight with tigers?" Kusha laughed and
replied, "You are no tiger but a fox. When I was not there you have stolen my brother
and are going away." With these words he shot four arrows which killed the four
horses of Shatrughna's chariot. Another arrow brought down the charioteer.
Shatrughna jumped down from his chariot and with great wrath shouted, "You wicked
boy, I'll kill you now." But an arrow shot by Kusha pierced Shatrughna's chest.
Loudly uttering "Rama! Rama!" he fell down on the ground with a thud.
Seeing Shatrughna collapsing on the ground, all the army-men trembled with tear. They
dropped their weapons and stood quietly. A messenger on horseback was sent to Rama. Kusha
went near Shatrughna's chariot. Just then Lava also regained consciousness. As soon as he
saw Kusha, he shouted, "0, brother!" and jumped from the chariot. They embraced
each other. Lava said, "Brother, my bow was broken in the fight. I will now pray to
the Sun-God as taught by our preceptor Valmiki and obtain a new bow." Kusha said,
"Yes, please do so." Lava closed his eyes and chanted the Surya-mantra, or the
hymn to the Sun. Then the Sun favoured him with a new bow. Both Lava and Kusha were
overjoyed at this. The two again dragged the sacrificial horse and tied it to a tree.