“I’ve heard of Tataka,” said Rama curiously, “and I’d like to know more about her. Tell me the story of her life.”
Stopping at where they were, the Rishi looked at Rama and Laksmana and recounted calmly:
‘Previously, Tataka wasn’t the horrible demon she is now. It became that later.
Once there was a Yaksha named Suketu. He was a pure and kind hearted person, but he had no children, and he was saddened. His deity was Brahma and he served him with great devotion. Brahma was satisfied with his devotion and granted him a daughter with great physical strength. This was Tataka.
She married Sunda, and they had a son named Maricha. Sunda was later killed by Agastya Muni, and Tataka and Maricha decided to avenge the death of their relative. Upon learning of their intentions, the sage launched a powerful curse and Tataka and her son Maricha became cruel and horrible Raksasas.’
“Both Tataka and Maricha are a constant danger to the peaceful people,” Visvamitra explained. “Your duty as a kshatriya, therefore, is to kill them and thereby alleviate the suffering of the defenseless.”
Intending to act as Visvamitra wished, with great determination Rama began to make noises by shaking the branches of the trees, to attract the attention of Tataka. Hearing those annoying noises, the demon, who was not far away, began to pay attention trying to understand what might be causing it. Unable to figure out what or who might be making such a fuss, she ran to the scene to find out for himself. There she saw all three of them, and in a voice that seemed to come from a deep cave, she uttered the following words:
“Whoever you are, reckless man, you have arrived at the right time. I’m hungry, and today I’ll appease myself with your flesh.”
Tataka attacked him with great vehemence, but Rama defended himself and after a short fight, he killed her. As soon as the Rakshasi took her last breath, Visvamitra embraced Rama and taught him the use of certain celestial weapons. With these, Rama became even stronger against any enemy.
This is a section of the book “The Ramayana”, in English.
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