Indologist Nrisinghaprasad Bhaduri wrote in his book "Valmikir Ram o Ramayan" that it was told to Vanaras that Kumbhakarna was a "Yantra"(machine). However, he did not mention the verse number. Nrisinghaprasad Bhaduri argued that Rakshasas were very advanced in technology. So, it was quite possible for them to build such a robot.

Is there any such thing mentioned in the Valmiki Ramayana? Please answer only citing Valmiki Ramayana (not other Ramayana versions).

In my opinion, the narrative of Kumbhakarna used to sleep for 6 months and wake up for a day fits well if he was a robot. However, my opinion does not matter.

My question is whether any such hint was given by Valmiki? Please cite verses.

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    you do know that Khumba karna was born and got boon from Lord Brahma, married and had kids right?? Jul 16 at 11:54
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    Suggesting that Kumbhakaran was a yantra was only a decoy to assuage Vanars to continue fighting Rakshash. Ramayan is full of life history of Kumbhakaran from birth to death. Such analysis trying to fit into imaginary logical construct is outright lie.
    – sbharti
    Jul 18 at 17:01
  • 7
    when we say 'Modi is a machine', does it mean he is literally a lifeless robot, or that he works non-stop like a machine without distractions ? It's a similie/metaphor/upamana/analogy.
    – mar
    Jul 18 at 17:30
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    Pls change your accepted answer @Amritendu
    – sbharti
    Jul 22 at 5:41

Let’s take a look at how Kumbhkaran is described in general

Pg 269 from the book you shared

Sarga 48

He sleeps (not because he is machine and needs maintenance but because of curse given by Lord Brahma. If you think he sleeps because of machine then how would you justify curse. You can’t.

  1. That raksasa sleeps for six, seven, eight, even nine months at a time. Nonetheless, you must awaken mighty Kumbhakarna immediately.

Kumbhakarna breathes. Like any living creature.

18–19. As they passed through the huge gates into Kumbhakarna’s lovely cavern, which extended a league on every side and was redolent with every fragrance, the immensely powerful raksasas were driven back by the force of his breath

He has body hairs. Breathes from nostrils

22-23. …tiger among raksasas, sons of chaos, as ahe lay there, his body hairs bristling, hissing like a great serpent, and terrifying them with his stertorous breathing. With his fearsome nostrils and his huge mouth as wide as the underworld Patala, he was fearsome to…

He was offered meat to eat. That’s what would be offered to living creature. Not a robot.

  1. Then those mighty raksasas placed before Kumbhakarna a supremely gratifying heap of meats as huge as Mount Meru.
  1. Those tigers among raksasas, sons of chaos, set down massive quantities of deer, buffalo, and boar—an astonishing heap of food.

He stretches his arms after waking up and yawns. That pretty much tells that it is not yantra or machine.

  1. Stretching wide his arms, which were as strong as mountain peaks and resembled two mountain peaks or great serpents, that night-roaming raksasa yawned grotesqu

Under Sarga 49

Kumbhkarna is “son” of Visravas. Not yantra of Visravas.

  1. ‘‘That is Kumbhakarna, the valorous son of Visravas, who defeated both Vaivasvata and Vasava in battle

Note the word born.

  1. ‘‘No sooner had this huge raksasa been born than, tormented by hunger, he devoured many thousands of living beings.

Srimad Bhagvtam

4.1.37 says he was born along with Ravana and Vibhishana. Not like robot.

Viśravā had two wives. The first wife was Iḍaviḍā, from whom Kuvera, the master of all Yakṣas, was born, and the next wife was named Keśinī, from whom three sons were born-Rāvaṇa, Kumbhakarṇa and Vibhīṣaṇa.

Like others have commented as well there are more evidences to show that he is NOT yantra. For eg Kumbhakarna got married to daughter of Bali and had sons.

  • 2
    Yes... "And in that extensive forest those exceedingly energetic ones, Kumbhakarna and the Ten necked one grew up, and became the sources of anxiety to people"... sanskrit-hindi version also says the same.. so he was not a robot..
    – YDS
    Jul 20 at 12:03
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    Also that he did tapasya and married. Why would a robot do tapasya and marry? :-D
    – sbharti
    Jul 22 at 5:40

There are two verses in Valmiki Ramayana that are very interesting. Both these verses are from Yuddhakanda, Sarga 49.

When Brahma saw Kumbhakarna, he said this to him -

"Undoubtedly, you were created by Paulastya for the destruction of the world." - Valmiki Ramayana VI.49.23

Here the word that should be noted is "created". The Sanskrit word that was used is "nirmitaH". It means built or created. We hardly use this term for a living being. We built non-living things, such as machines.

The other verse is even more suggestive. When the Vanaras saw Kumbhakrana, they fled. Then none other than Vibhisana told Rama the following words -

"Let’s tell all the monkeys that he is just some giant mechanical man. Once they accept that, they will lose their fear of him." - Valmiki Ramayana VI.49.31


The Ramayana of Valmiki: An Epic of Ancient India Volume VI (Yuddhakanda). Page No. 270-271. Translation and annotation by Robert P. Goldman, Sally J. Sutherland Goldman and Barend A. van Nooten. Princeton University Press. Princeton and Oxford. 2009. (Link)

The same section is part of Ramayana Book VI Canto LXI translated by Griffith.

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    Couldn't find either in the sarga you mentioned valmikiramayan.pcriot.com/utf8/yuddha/sarga49/… Jul 17 at 20:08
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    The answer is incomplete without references to birth life and death of Kumbhakaran, which clearly establishes he was a living being. You're Quoting poetic verses out of context to create a clearly false understanding.
    – sbharti
    Jul 18 at 17:06

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