Here Is the Story Why Kumbhakarna Slept So Much


May 1, 2019
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We all have grown up listening to the tale of Ramayana. And we all have been mystified by the character of Kumbhakarna, who supposedly slept for six months in a row. But haven’t we all wondered as to why he slept so much, and how was that even humanly possible.

There is an interesting story set in the backdrop of the Indian state of Uttarakand, which sheds light on this mystery. Kumbhakarna had undertaken a penance along with his brothers Ravana and Vibhishana for ten thousand years in order to attain the status of Kuber, who was his half-brother. At the end of this tapasya, Lord Brahma appeared and was willing to grant a boon to each one of them.
Ravana as expected asked for immortality, which he was denied. Hence, he instead asked for a boon which ensured that no Yaksha, Daitya, Danav or Rakshasas, bird or serpent would be able to kill him. Vibhishana, the righteous one, asked for immortality, which he was granted instantly.
By the time Lord Brahma turned his attention to Kumbhakarna, the Gods and Goddesses in heaven went into a state of panic. They feared that he would ask for Indrsan or the seat of the King of Heaven. If that was to happen, they expected all mayhem to occur in the three worlds. Their fears were rightly placed since Kumbhakarna had devoured ten attendants, seven apsaras and innumerable sages and petty humans in the past. They warned Brahma that if he was given the boon he wanted, he would surely eat up the three worlds in no time.
Ironically, they asked him to pretend to give a boon, which in fact would be something stupid. This they convinced him, was the only way to protect people from Kumbhakarna’s wrath. So when the time came for Kumbhakarna to ask for his boon, Goddess Saraswati tied his tongue, and instead of saying Indrsan he ended up saying Nindrsan. Nindrsan means eternal sleep. Once Kumbhakarna asked for this boon, Brahma granted it instantly. When he realized the blunder he had committed, he was sorrowful and soon realized that the Gods had tricked him.
At this moment of conflict he could only turn to his elder brother Ravana for help. Ravana approached Brahma and said that his boon was in fact a curse for his grandson, which would make him a useless being at his prime age. He argued with him that even if the curse cannot be overturned, he should modify it at all costs. Brahma conceded to this request and modified the curse. He said that Kumbhakarna would sleep for six months and stay awake for the other six.

There is another interesting tale associated with Kumbhakarna. It occurs at the time of war between Rama and Ravana. When the war started, Kumbhakarna was awake. But at that time Ravana had never expected to fight a losing battle. During the battle the time for Kumbhakran to sleep came again, and he retired for six months. It was Ravana who panicked, and in his desperation he woke him up after just nine days of sleep.
It is said that since he was supposed to be asleep at that time, he died on the battle field.
Like everything else in our mythological scriptures the sleep of Kumbhakarna too has a deeper meaning. The three brothers Vibhishana, Ravana and Kumbhakarna, each signify a typical way of conduct. While Vibhishana stands for the righteous way of living or the sathwa gun, Ravana is known for his passion for everything wrong or rajoguna. Kumbhakarna represents inertia or the tamoguna, because of his habits of sleeping and eating endlessly. Each one of us has all three temperaments inside us. Any man who sleeps excessively can be compared to the tamasic act of Kumbhakarna. Kumbhakarna is shown as a bad example for somebody who believes in excesses and ends up causing himself harm.

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