Khar and Dooshan were Raavan’s cousins. Khar was son of the sister of Kekasi (Ravan’s mother). Khar was the King of Janasthan. He protected the northern kingdom of Lanka in the mainland and his kingdom bordered with the Kosala Kingdom, the kingdom of Rama. He was well-known for his superior skills in warfare. Khar and Dooshan lived in Janasthan with their cousin sister Shoorpankha. Khar had two sons- Makaraaksh and Vishaalaaksh.
During their exile to the forest, Rama, Sita and Lakshman came to Dandaka forest. The sages told them about the menace of the rakshasas. Rama assured the ascetics that he would soon get rid of all rakshasas there. Shri Rama began to live by the River Godavari, at Panchvati in a simple rustic hut.
While roaming about the forest, Shoorpankha saw Rama, Lakshman and Sita. She was besotted by Rama. Using her Maya (magic), she magically changed to a lovely lady and proposed to Rama. He said, “I am already married and have my wife here.”
Then she went to Lakshman who said, “I am a servant of Rama and Sita. What joy would you have from marrying me? You will become a servant too.”
Both Rama and Lakshman thus rejected her offer. She assumed her original awful form and began to scare Sita. Enraged, Lakshman cut off her ears and nose. She went weeping to Khar and Dooshan. Khar asked his army chief Dooshan to prepare his 14,000 Rakshas army and bring bow, arrows, swords and said – “I want to be the first Rakshas in Pulastya Kul to kill Rama.” Immediately a Sun-like shiny chariot came there with shiny horses. That chariot was very huge like a huge mountain. It had gold wheels, gem-studded shaft and was decorated with gem-studded birds, flowers, trees, mountains etc. Inside were all kinds of weapons. Thus Khar embarked up on that chariot and ordered his army to head towards the place where Rama lived. First army headed, and then Khar started behind them.
When Khar’s army started, many bad omens occurred. First there rained red water as if blood was falling from the clouds. His horses could not go forward. A vulture sat on the flagstaff of Khar’s chariot. Animals and birds started crying in east. Vultures, jackals and eagles also started howling and crying. Rahu also came to swallow the Sun untimely [It was not the day of Amavasya (new moon)]. Wind started blowing fiercely. Fishes hid in ponds. Lotus flowers faded away. Meteors fell down thunderously. Even the Prithvi also shook. Khar’s voice changed and to whichever side he looked at, his eyes filled with tears.
But the fool didn’t return and said – “I do not believe in these bad omens, because mighty people do not care for weak. If I want, I can bring even stars down from the sky by my arrows. I can even kill death. I cannot come back without killing Rama and Lakshman. My sister will be happy to drink their blood after they have died. You know that I have not been defeated by anybody. When I can kill even Indra then what are these two men?”
Hearing this, Khar’s army got very happy. Many Mahatmas also came to see this battle. Siddh, Chaaran, Good, Gandharva also came there. Khar had 12 very brave Rakshasas behind him: Shyengaamee, Prithugreev, Yagyashatru, Vihangam Durjaya, Karveeraaksh, Parush, Kaalkaarmuk, Hemmaalee, Mahaamaalee, Sarpaasya, and Rudhiraaksh. Mahaakpaal, Sthoolaaksh, Pramaathee, and Trishiraa, were in the front of army, while Dooshan was following them. Khar and his army soon came to Rama’s Ashram.
A fierce battle was fought. First, Dooshan was killed by Rama and then Trishiraa. Khar got scared with the death of Dooshan and Trishiraa and got sad on the destruction of such a large army. Still he proceeded towards Rama with his bow and arrows. Khar used Naaleek (tubular), Narach (iron arrows) and Vikarni (crescent-edged arrows) named arrows at Rama. Rama shot six arrows – one at Khar’s head, two at his both arms and three crescent-like arrows at his chest. Then he shot 13 Narach (iron arrows) – one arrow at the yoke of chariot, four at his four horses and eight at his Sarathi’s head.
Then with three arrows Rama broke his chariot’s shaft, with two arrows the axle, and with 12 arrows Khar’s bow. Seeing himself without the chariot and charioteer, Khar came down with his Gada in the battle field. And he uprooted a Shaal tree from nearby and threw at Rama. Rama cut that tree with the shower of his arrows. Then he shot a thousand arrows at Khar, Khar got wounded and bled. He ran again towards Rama. This time Rama shot an arrow (Paavak or Agni arrow) at his chest and he fell on the ground lifeless.
Khar was a cursed being by Shiva and he would be released from his curse by being killed by Rama, the son of Dasharath. In the Shesh Dharma of Mahabharata, in the discourse between Bhisma Pitamah and Yudhishthir, it is said that Sage Yaagyavalkya had three sons – Chandrakaant, Mahaamedhaa and Vijaya. These three Brahman became Khar, Dooshan, and Trishiraa Rakshas by the curse of Shiva.
The first one Chandrakaant is Khar. And the disciples of the three Brahman scholars were fourteen and they also became Brahm Rakshas. They were sent to fight with Rama in the beginning. On listening to Shoorpankhaa, Khar came to know that Vishnu has incarnated in the form of Rama and thus he wanted to get released from his curse by being killed by Rama, and hence firstly he sent his 14 Rakshas, who were their 14 disciples, and later these three brothers also followed them and thus got released from their curse.
Khar Dooshan – Ramayana Characters