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The giant Kumbhakarna from the Ramayana epic, here in a Kecak performance in Ubud, Bali.
Waking up Kumbhakarna

Kumbhakarna (Sanskrit: कुम्भकर्ण, kumbhakarṇa, spelled Kumbhakarno in Indonesia), in the Hindu epic Ramayana, was a Rakshasa and brother of Ravana. Despite of his monstrous size and great hunger, he was somewhat described of having a good character, though he killed and ate many Hindu monks to show his power only.

When he asked for a boon (blessing) from Brahma, his tongue was tied by goddess Saraswati. So instead of asking "Indraasana" (seat of Indra), he asked for "Nidraasana" (bed for sleeping). His request was granted. But his brother Ravana asked Brahma to undo this boon as it was in reality a curse. So Kumbhakarna slept for six months and then woke for one day only to fall asleep for another six months. However, when he woke up, he ate everything in the vicinity, including humans.

During the war, Ravana went into battle and was humiliated by Rama and his army. He decided he needed the help of his brother Kumbhakarna, who was awakened with great difficulty. When he was informed of the circumstances of Ravana's war with Rama, he tried to convince Ravana that what he was doing was wrong.(Some sources do not imply that he said any such thing to Ravana. Rather, they mention that he sided with his brother wholeheartedly.) However, he chose to fight in the battle due to his loyalty to his brother. After becoming drunk, Kumbhakarna went into battle. He devastated Rama's army, injured Hanuman, and knocked Sugriva unconscious and took him as a prisoner but was killed by Rama.[1] When Ravana heard of his brother's death, he fainted and proclaimed that he is truly doomed.

Kumbhakarna had two sons, Kumbha and Nikumbha, who too fought in the war against Rama and were killed.[2]

Kumbhakarna is certainly one of the most interesting characters in the Ramayana epic. Whereas most characters perfectly embody either virtue or vice, Kumbhakarna is a more complex figure. Able to realize the mistakes and wrong-doings of Ravana, even trying to intervene and moderate at certain times, he is unable to openly oppose him, feeling bound by his warrior ethics. Fighting on what he knows is the wrong side, he is ultimately killed in combat. When he has finally been defeated, even his adversaries, Rama and his companions, pray for him in order to release his soul to heaven.

The battle between Kumbhakarna and Rama is prominently featured in the Balinese Kecak dance.

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