Ramayana – Rama’s Journey

Written By Jason Kim

Writing stories of mythical proportions.

The Adventures of Rama and Sita

Once upon a time, in the kingdom of Ayodhya, there lived a wise and noble king named Dasharatha. He had three beautiful wives – Kausalya, Kaikeyi, and Sumitra. However, he was saddened because he did not have a son to be his heir. Determined to have a child, King Dasharatha performed a special fire sacrifice called Putriya Isti.

In the heavens, the gods were worried about a powerful and evil demon named Ravana. He was causing havoc in the universe and they knew they needed someone extraordinary to stop him. Vishnu, the mighty deity, decided to be born as a mortal to fight against Ravana. And so, Rama was born to Kausalya, while Bharata was born to Kaikeyi, and twins Lakshmana and Shatrughna were born to Sumitra.

As Rama grew up, he became a kind and brave young prince. One day, a great sage named Vishvamitra arrived at the court of King Dasharatha seeking help. Demons were disrupting his sacred rituals, and he needed warriors to protect him. Rama, eager to prove himself, volunteered to go with Vishvamitra, and his loyal younger brother Lakshmana insisted on accompanying him.

One day, a great sage named Vishvamitra arrived at the court of King Dasharatha

Under the guidance of Vishvamitra, Rama and Lakshmana learned powerful skills and received magical weapons. They fearlessly fought and defeated many demons, including the fearsome Tataka. Vishvamitra also shared tales of ancient lore and the marvelous history of the land with the eager princes.

After their adventures with Vishvamitra, Rama and Lakshmana continued their journey. They were drawn to the kingdom of Mithila, where a great sacrifice was taking place. The ruler of Mithila, King Janaka, possessed a bow that no one had ever been able to string. He believed that whoever possessed the strength to string the bow would win the hand of his beloved daughter, Sita.

Curiosity piqued, Rama and Lakshmana joined the gathering. King Janaka shared the fascinating story of the divine bow and revealed that Sita had been found when he plowed a field. Rama, filled with determination and divine strength, approached the bow and effortlessly strung it, causing it to break. The entire kingdom rejoiced as Rama was declared the winner, and Sita became his beloved wife.

The Ramayana

The joyous wedding between Rama and Sita was celebrated with grandeur in Mithila. After the festivities, Rama, Sita, and Lakshmana returned to Ayodhya, where the people eagerly welcomed them. Little did they know that these events were just the beginning of an extraordinary journey filled with epic battles, tests of love and loyalty, and the triumph of good over evil.

The Exile Begins

With the marriage of Rama and Sita, the city of Ayodhya was filled with joy and celebration. The wise and elderly King Dasharatha was overjoyed and decided that it was time to crown Rama as the rightful king. The people of Ayodhya were in complete support of this decision, and the atmosphere was abuzz with anticipation.

On the eve of the grand coronation, the royal preceptor Vasishtha advised Rama to seek the blessings of their ancestral deity, Lord Ranganatha. Rama dutifully performed the sacred rituals, ensuring the blessings of the divine. Little did they know that this would become a significant moment in their lives.

 seeking help. Demons were disrupting his sacred rituals, and he needed warriors to protect him. Rama, eager to prove himself, volunteered to go with Vishvamitra, and his loyal younger brother Lakshmana insisted on accompanying him

However, lurking in the shadows was a wicked maidservant named Manthara, who had ill intentions. She saw an opportunity to manipulate Queen Kaikeyi, Rama’s stepmother, and convince her to claim two boons that were promised to her by King Dasharatha long ago. Blinded by her greed and influenced by Manthara’s words, Kaikeyi demanded that Rama be exiled into the wilderness for fourteen long years, with the kingdom passing to her own son, Bharata.

This shocking turn of events shattered the happiness and harmony in Ayodhya. The heartbroken Dasharatha, bound by his unwavering devotion to his word, reluctantly fulfilled Kaikeyi’s demands. Rama, the epitome of righteousness, accepted his father’s decision with unwavering loyalty and self-control.

In the midst of this sorrow, Sita, Rama’s beloved wife, stood by his side and vowed to accompany him into exile. She reassured him that they would face this trial together, no matter how challenging it might be. Rama’s loyal brother, Lakshmana, also made the courageous decision to join them in their journey into the wilderness.

As Rama, Sita, and Lakshmana prepared to leave Ayodhya, tragedy struck once again. Overwhelmed with sorrow and unable to bear the pain of separation from his beloved son, King Dasharatha succumbed to his grief and passed away. The news of his demise added another layer of anguish to the already sorrowful departure.

Back in Ayodhya, Bharata, Rama’s noble and righteous brother, returned from his visit to their maternal uncle’s kingdom and learned about the tragic events that had unfolded in his absence. In a display of great integrity and love for his brother, Bharata vehemently rejected any benefit that may come from his mother’s wicked schemes.

Filled with deep remorse, Bharata set out to find Rama in the forest. Upon reuniting with Rama, he pleaded with him to return to Ayodhya and assume his rightful place as king. But Rama, loyal to his father’s words and principles, firmly refused to break his promise and return before the completion of the fourteen-year exile.

And so, with heavy hearts and the weight of destiny upon their shoulders, Rama, Sita, and Lakshmana bid farewell to Ayodhya and embarked on their extraordinary journey into the wilderness. Little did they know that this period of exile would test their love, strength, and unwavering faith in each other, marking the beginning of their epic saga.

The Aranya Kanda

In the Aranya Kanda, the epic tale of the Ramayana continues with Rama, Sita, and Lakshmana living in the Panchavati forest during their exile. Here, they build cottages and sustain themselves by living off the land. Their peaceful existence is interrupted when Shurpanakha, a rakshasi (demoness) and Ravana’s sister, visits them. She tries to seduce the brothers but fails in her attempts. Enraged, she then tries to harm Sita, but Lakshmana intervenes and defends her by mutilating Shurpanakha.

 seeking help. Demons were disrupting his sacred rituals, and he needed warriors to protect him. Rama, eager to prove himself, volunteered to go with Vishvamitra, and his loyal younger brother Lakshmana The Ramayana

The news of this incident reaches Shurpanakha’s brothers, Khara and Dushan, and they organize an attack against Rama and Lakshmana. Rama successfully defeats Khara and the rakshasas (demons). Meanwhile, Ravana, the mighty demon king, learns of these events and decides to capture Sita to seek revenge on Rama. He enlists the help of Maricha, another rakshasa, who takes the form of a golden deer to entice Sita.

Sita, mesmerized by the deer’s beauty, convinces Rama to capture it. Aware of the demons’ ploy, Rama reluctantly agrees and chases after the deer, leaving Sita under Lakshmana’s protection. While Rama is away, Sita hears his voice calling for help. Filled with concern for his safety, she urges Lakshmana to go to Rama’s aid. Lakshmana tries to reassure her but eventually gives in to her pleas. Before leaving, he draws a line that no demon can cross and instructs Sita not to step out of the cottage or interact with anyone else.

Taking advantage of the situation, Ravana disguises himself as an ascetic and approaches Sita, seeking her hospitality. Unaware of his true identity and intentions, Sita offers him food and shelter. However, Ravana reveals his true form and forcefully abducts Sita, leaving her helpless and captured. Jatayu, a noble vulture, attempts to rescue Sita but is mortally wounded in the process.

In the kingdom of Lanka, Sita is imprisoned and guarded by rakshasis. Ravana, impressed by her beauty and charmed by her virtues, tries to make her his queen. However, Sita remains devoted to Rama and steadfast in her refusal to marry Ravana. Meanwhile, Rama and Lakshmana learn about Sita’s abduction from Jatayu and begin their quest to rescue her. Along their journey, they encounter Kabandha, an enchanted being, and the ascetic Shabari, both of whom provide guidance and lead them to Sugriva and Hanuman, two crucial allies in their mission to save Sita.

The Aranya Kanda sets the stage for the upcoming challenges and adventures that Rama and his allies will face in their quest to rescue Sita from Ravana’s clutches.

Kishkindha Kanda

The Kishkindha Kanda takes place in the forest dwelling of the Vānaras (forest-dwelling humans), specifically in the citadel of Kishkindha. Here, Rama and Lakshmana encounter Hanuman, who is known for his unwavering devotion to Rama and his exceptional strength as an ape hero. Hanuman is a loyal follower of Sugriva, who is the banished claimant to the throne of Kishkindha.

The Ramayana

Rama befriends Sugriva and agrees to help him regain control of the kingdom by defeating his elder brother, Vali. In return, Sugriva promises to assist Rama in finding and rescuing Sita. Rama fulfills his promise by killing Vali and restoring Sugriva’s authority.

However, after gaining power, Sugriva becomes preoccupied with his new position and forgets about his commitment to Rama. Lakshmana becomes furious and wants to destroy the ape citadel in retaliation. Tara, the wise former queen of the apes and Vali’s wife, intervenes and calms Lakshmana. She manages to convince Sugriva of the importance of honoring his pledge to Rama.

Finally realizing his mistake, Sugriva sends search parties in all directions to find any information about Sita’s whereabouts. However, the search parties from the north, east, and west return without any success. It is the southern search party led by Angada and Hanuman that discovers significant information.

They meet a vulture named Sampati, who happens to be the elder brother of Jatayu. Sampati informs them that Sita has been taken to the kingdom of Lanka. This crucial information sets the stage for Rama, Lakshmana, Sugriva, Hanuman, and the Vanara army to embark on their mission to rescue Sita and confront the powerful demon king, Ravana, in Lanka.

Sundara Kanda

In the Sundara Kanda, which is considered the heart of Valmiki’s Ramayana, Hanuman takes center stage with his heroic actions. Upon discovering Sita’s location, Hanuman assumes a massive form and makes a colossal leap across the sea to reach Lanka. Along the way, he encounters various challenges, including a Gandharva Kanya who disguises herself as a demon to test his abilities. Hanuman also encounters a mountain called Mainaka, who offers him assistance and rest. However, Hanuman declines, as time is of the essence in his mission to find Sita.

The Ramayana

Upon reaching Lanka, Hanuman encounters a powerful demon called Lankini, who acts as the protector of the entire city. A fierce battle ensues, and Hanuman successfully subdues Lankini, fulfilling the prophecy that the end of Lanka is near if someone defeated her. Afterward, Hanuman explores the kingdom of the demons and spies on Ravana. He eventually locates Sita in the Ashoka grove, where she is being wooed and threatened by Ravana and his rakshasis to marry him.

Hanuman reassures Sita by presenting Rama’s signet ring as proof that Rama is alive and still searching for her. He offers to carry Sita back to Rama, but she refuses, emphasizing that it is not the right path. Sita believes that for the significance and righteousness of the Ramayana, it is essential for Rama himself to rescue her and avenge the insult of her abduction. As a token, Sita gives Hanuman her comb to show that she is still alive.

After bidding farewell to Sita, Hanuman decides to bring turmoil to Lanka before returning to Rama. He destroys trees in the Naulakha Bagh, burns buildings, and defeats Ravana’s warriors. Hanuman intentionally allows himself to be captured and brought before Ravana. He fearlessly lectures Ravana, urging him to release Sita. As a consequence, Hanuman is condemned, and his tail is set on fire. However, he manages to escape his bonds, leaps from rooftop to rooftop, sets fire to Ravana’s citadel, and ultimately returns to the island through a tremendous leap. The search party, filled with joy over the news, returns to Kishkindha to inform Rama of their discoveries.

After Hanuman’s triumphant return with the news of Sita’s location, Rama, with the help of Hanuman, Sugreeva, and Vibhishana, defeats Ravana, and the honor of Rama and Sita is restored. However, even after defeating Ravana, Rama is criticized by people in his kingdom about the chastity of Sita. This greatly disheartens Rama, and Sita decides to prove her conjugal fidelity by entering a pyre of fire. Lakshmana prepares the pyre, and Sita prays to the god Agni before entering the fire. Agni appears in person from the burning pyre, carrying Sita in his arms, and testifies to her purity, restoring her to Rama.

The episode of Agni Pariksha varies in the different versions of Ramayana by Valmiki and Tulsidas. In Tulsidas’s Ramcharitmanas, Sita was under the protection of Agni, known as Maya Sita, so it was necessary to bring her out before reuniting with Rama. Nonetheless, in both versions, Sita establishes her purity and is joyfully accepted by Rama, ending their exile and beginning a new chapter in their lives.

The Joyous Return of Prince Rama

Rama, accompanied by his faithful brother Lakshman and the brave monkey warrior Hanuman, faced many challenges during their exile. They encountered fearsome demons and evil creatures, but with their courage and goodness, they overcame every obstacle that came their way.

After enduring a difficult journey that lasted fourteen long years, Rama, Sita, Lakshman, and Hanuman returned to Ayodhya. The people of the kingdom were overjoyed to have their rightful king and queen back. The streets of Ayodhya were decorated with colorful banners, and the air was filled with the sound of laughter and celebration.

The Festival of Lights

The day of Rama’s return became a festival of joy and light known as Diwali. The people of Ayodhya lit thousands of oil lamps, called diyas, to celebrate the triumph of good over evil and the joyous homecoming of their beloved prince. The entire city was bathed in a warm and gentle glow, spreading happiness and hope among its residents.

The Ramayana festival of lights

Rama’s Coronation

The return of Rama not only brought happiness to the people of Ayodhya but also marked a new beginning for their kingdom. Rama’s coronation, known as Rama Pattabhisheka, was a grand ceremony where he was officially crowned as the king of Ayodhya. The air was filled with anticipation as the people gathered to witness this momentous event.

During the coronation, Rama showered his loved ones and allies with acts of gratitude for their unwavering support. He bestowed generous donations to Sugriva, Jambavan, and many other loyal friends who had stood by his side throughout his journey. Rama presented a beautiful pearl necklace to Sita, instructing her to pass it on to someone deserving, which she lovingly gave to Hanuman, her dearest companion.

A Gift of Gratitude

Among all those who had helped Rama during his exile, there was one who stood out: Vibhishana, the virtuous brother of the demon king Ravana. Rama was deeply thankful for Vibhishana’s loyalty and wanted to express his gratitude in a special way. With great humility, Rama gifted his cherished Aradhana Devata, the deity Sri Ranganathaswamy, to Vibhishana as a token of his appreciation.

Rama’s rule over Ayodhya was known as the Rama Rajya, a kingdom where fairness and justice prevailed. The people of Ayodhya lived in harmony, and their happiness resonated throughout the land. Rama cared for his subjects as if they were his own family, ensuring their well-being and prosperity.

The Legacy Continues

As Rama’s reign in Ayodhya continued, sage Valmiki, a wise seer and poet, played an important role. He took upon himself the task of training Rama’s twin sons, Lava and Kusha, in the noble art of archery. The young princes, under Valmiki’s guidance, grew up to be skilled warriors, carrying the legacy of their father with pride.

Eventually, the time came when Rama, having fulfilled his duties as a king, decided to transcend the mortal world and return to his divine abode. The people of Ayodhya bid farewell to their beloved king with both sorrow and gratitude, cherishing the memories of his just and compassionate rule.

Rama’s tale of bravery and righteousness would be told for generations to come, inspiring young hearts with the values of truth, honor, and perseverance. And the festival of Diwali would forever be celebrated as a reminder of the triumph of light over darkness and the enduring power of good.

The Ramayana

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