(4th Act of Ascharyachoodamani of Sakthibhadra)
Margi Madhu, Indu G
Ascharyachudamani is one of the most important plays in the repertoire of Kutiyattam, and it has retained its popularity through the centuries of the existence of this theatric form.
In the play, Ravana, disguised as Maya Rama, carries away Sita in a chariot. The charioteer (Suta) is in disguise as Maya Lakshmana. In the chariot, Sita’s hand happens to touch Ravana while she is tying her hair. By the power of the ‘Choodamani’ (magic gem given to Sita by Rama for protection against harm) that Sita is wearing on her finger, Ravana’s evil spell is removed and his ‘maya’ ceases to work. The ‘maya’ Rama form is lost and Ravana appears in his true form. But, Ravana does not realize his change of form.
After abducting Sita, when Ravana is returning to Lanka, he is challenged by Jatayu. In the ‘marma’ war that ensues, Ravana lies while Jatayu tells the truth. Ravana deceptively kills the giant bird and heads for Lanka.