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  1. 1. The story of Rama is divided into four parts:1. Early life of Rama2. Ramas exile3. Abduction of Sita (Ramas wife) and4. Slaying of Ravana, the abductor of Sita, and Ramas coronation.Dasharatha was the king of Kosala, an ancient kingdom that was located in present day Uttar Pradesh. Ayodhya was itscapital. Dasharatha was loved by one and all. His subjects were happy and his kingdom was prosperous. Even thoughDasharatha had everything that he desired, he was very sad at heart; he had no children.During the same time, there lived a powerful Rakshasa king in the island of Ceylon, located just south of India. He wascalled Ravana. His tyranny knew no bounds, his subjects disturbed the prayers of holy men.The childless Dasharatha was advised by his family priest Vashishtha to perform a fire sacrifice ceremony to seek theblessings of God for children. Vishnu, the preserver of the universe, decided to manifest himself as the eldest son ofDasharatha in order to kill Ravana. While performing the fire worship ceremony, a majestic figure rose from thesacrificial fire and handed to Dasharatha a bowl of rice pudding, saying, "God is pleased with you and has asked you todistribute this rice pudding (payasa) to your wives - they will soon bear your children."The king received the gift joyfully and distributed the payasa to his three queens, Kausalya, Kaikeyi, and Sumitra.Kausalya, the eldest queen, gave birth to the eldest son Rama. Bharata, the second son was born to Kaikeyi andSumitra gave birth to the twins Lakshmana and Shatrughna. Ramas birthday is celebrated now as Ramanavami.The four princes grew up to be tall, strong, handsome, and brave. Of the four brothers, Rama was closest toLakshmana and Bharata to Shatrughna. One day, the revered sage Viswamitra came to Ayodhya. Dasharatha wasoverjoyed and immediately got down from his throne and received him with great honor.Viswamitra blessed Dasharatha and asked him to send Rama to kill the Rakshasas who were disturbing his firesacrifice. Rama was then only fifteen years old. Dasharatha was taken aback. Rama was too young for the job. Heoffered himself, but sage Viswamitra knew better. The sage insisted upon his request and assured the king that Ramawould be safe in his hands. Ultimately, Dasharatha agreed to send Rama, along with Lakshmana, to go withViswamitra. Dasharatha strictly ordered his sons to obey Rishi Viswamitra and fulfill all his wishes. The parents blessedthe two young princes. They then departed with the sage (Rishi).The party of Viswamitra, Rama, and Lakshmana soon reached Dandaka forest where the Rakshasi Tadaka lived withher son Maricha. Viswamitra asked Rama to challenge her. Rama strung his bow and twanged the string. The wildanimals ran helter-skelter in fear. Tadaka heard the sound and she became incensed. Mad with rage, roaringthunderously, she rushed at Rama. A fierce battle ensued between the huge Rakshasi and Rama. Finally, Ramapierced her heart with a deadly arrow and Tadaka crashed down to the earth. Viswamitra was pleased. He taught Ramaseveral Mantras (divine chants), with which Rama could summon many divine weapons (by meditation) in order to fightagainst evilViswamitra then proceeded, with Rama and Lakshmana, towards his ashram. When they started the fire sacrifice,Rama and Lakshmana were guarding the place. Suddenly Maricha, Tadakas ferocious son, arrived with his followers.Rama silently prayed and discharged the newly acquired divine weapons at Maricha. Maricha was thrown many, manymiles away into the sea. All other demons were slain by Rama and Lakshmana. Viswamitra completed the sacrifice andthe sages rejoiced and blessed the princes.The next morning, Viswamitra, Rama, and Lakshmana headed towards the city of Mithila, the capital of the kingdom ofJanaka. King Janaka invited Viswamitra to attend the great fire sacrifice ceremony that he had arranged. Viswamitrahad something in mind - to get Rama married to the lovely daughter of Janaka.Janaka was a saintly king. He received a bow from Lord Siva. It was strong and heavy.He wanted his beautiful daughter Sita to marry the bravest and strongest prince in the country. So he had vowed that hewould give Sita in marriage only to the one who could string that great bow of Siva. Many had tried before. None couldeven move the bow, let alone string it.When Viswamitra arrived with Rama and Lakshmana at the court, King Janaka received them with great respect.Viswamitra introduced Rama and Lakshmana to Janaka and requested that he show the bow of Siva to Rama so that
  2. 2. he could try to string it. Janaka looked at the young prince and assented doubtfully. The bow was stored in an iron boxmounted on an eight-wheeled chariot. Janaka ordered his men to bring the bow and place it in the middle of a big hallfilled with many dignitaries.Rama then stood up in all humility, picked up the bow with ease, and got ready for the stringing. He placed one end ofthe bow against his toe, put forth his might, and bent the bow to string it-when to everyones surprise the bow snappedin two! Sita was relieved. She had liked Rama right at the first sight.Dasharatha was immediately informed. He gladly gave his consent to the marriage and came to Mithila with his retinue.Janaka arranged for a grand wedding. Rama and Sita were married. At the same time, the three other brothers werealso provided with brides. Lakshmana married Sitas sister Urmila. Bharata and Shatrughna married Sitas cousinsMandavi and Shrutakirti. After the wedding, Viswamitra blessed them all and left for the Himalayas to meditate.Dasharatha returned to Ayodhya with his sons and their new brides. People celebrated the marriage with great pompand show.For the next twelve years Rama and Sita lived happily in Ayodhya. Rama was loved by all. He was a joy to his father,Dasharatha, whose heart nearly burst with pride when he beheld his son. As Dasharatha was growing older, hesummoned his ministers seeking their opinion about crowning Rama as prince of Ayodhya. They unanimouslywelcomed the suggestion. Then Dasharatha announced the decision and gave orders for the coronation of Rama.During this time, Bharata and his favorite brother, Shatrughna, had gone to see their maternal grandfather and wereabsent from Ayodhya.Kaikeyi, Bharatas mother, was in the palace rejoicing with the other queens, sharing the happy news of Ramascoronation. She loved Rama as her own son; but her wicked maid, Manthara, was unhappy. Manthara wanted Bharatato be the king so she devised a heinous plan to thwart Ramas coronation. As soon as the plan was set firmly in hermind, she rushed to Kaikeyi to tell her."What a fool you are!" Manthara said to Kaikeyi, "The king has always loved you more than the other queens. But themoment Rama is crowned, Kausalya will become all powerful and she will make you her slave."Manthara repeatedly gave her poisoned suggestions, clouding Kaikeyis mind and heart with suspicion and doubt.Kaikeyi, confused and distraught, finally agreed to Mantharas plan."But what can I do to change it?" asked Kaikeyi with a puzzled mind.Manthara was clever enough to chalk out her plan all the way. She had been waiting for Kaikeyi to ask her advice."You may recall that long ago when Dasharatha was badly wounded in the battle field, while fighting with the Asuras,you saved Dasrarathas life by swiftly driving his chariot to safety? At that time Dasharatha offered you two boons. Yousaid you would ask for the boons some other time." Kaikeyi readily remembered.Manthara continued, "Now the time has come to demand those boons. Ask Dasharatha for your first boon to makeBharat the king of Kosal and for the second boon to banish Rama to the forest for fourteen years."Kakeyi was a noble-hearted queen, now trapped by Manthara. She agreed to do what Manthara said. Both of themknew that Dasharatha would never fall back on his words.The night before the coronation, Dasharatha came to Kakeyi to share his happiness at seeing Rama the crown prince ofKosala. But Kakeyi was missing from her apartment. She was in her "anger room". When Dasharatha came to heranger room to inquire, he found his beloved queen lying on the floor with her hair loose and her ornaments cast away.Dasharatha gently took Kakeyis head on his lap and asked in a caressing voice, "What is wrong?"But Kakeyi angrily shook herself free and firmly said; "You have promised me two boons. Now please grant me thesetwo boons. Let Bharata be crowned as king and not Rama. Rama should be banished from the kingdom for fourteenyears."Dasharatha could hardly believe his ears. Unable to bear what he had heard, he fell down unconscious. When hereturned to his senses, he cried out in helpless anger, "What has come over you? What harm has Rama done to you?Please ask for anything else but these."
  3. 3. Kakeyi stood firm and refused to yield. Dasharatha fainted and lay on the floor the rest of the night. The next morning,Sumantra, the minister, came to inform Dasharatha that all the preparations for the coronation were ready. ButDasharatha was not in a position to speak to anyone. Kakeyi asked Sumantra to call Rama immediately. When Ramaarrived, Dasharatha was sobbing uncontrollably and could only utter "Rama! Rama!"Rama was alarmed and looked at Kakeyi with surprise, "Did I do anything wrong, mother? I have never seen my fatherlike this before.""He has something unpleasant to tell you, Rama," replied Kakeyi. "Long ago your father had offered me two boons. NowI demand it." Then Kakeyi told Rama about the boons."Is that all mother?" asked Rama with a smile. "Please take it that your boons are granted. Call for Bharata. I shall startfor the forest today."Rama did his pranams to his revered father, Dasharatha, and to his stepmother, Kakeyi, and then left the room.Dasharatha was in shock. He painfully asked his attendants to move him to Kaushalyas apartment. He was waiting fordeath to ease his pain.The news of Ramas exile spread like a fire. Lakshmana was furious with his fathers decision. Rama simply replied, "Isit worthwhile to sacrifice your principle for the sake of this small kingdom?"Tears sprang from Lakshmanas eyes and he said in a low voice, "If you must go to the forest, take me along with you."Rama agreed.Then Rama proceeded to Sita and asked her to stay behind. "Look after my mother, Kausalya, in my absence."Sita begged, "Have pity on me. A wifes position is always beside her husband. Dont leave me behind. Ill die withoutyou." At last Rama permitted Sita to follow him.Urmila, Lakshamans wife, also wanted to go with Lakshmana to the forest. But Lakshmana explained to her the life thathe plans to lead for the protection of Rama and Sita."If you accompany me, Urmila," Lakshmana said, "I may not be able to fulfill my duties. Please take care of our grievedfamily members." So Urmila stayed behind on Lakshmanas request.By that evening Rama, Sita and Lakshmana left Ayodhya on a chariot driven by Sumatra. They were dressed likemendicants (Rishis). The people of Ayodhya ran behind the chariot crying loudly for Rama. By nightfall they all reachedthe bank of the river, Tamasa. Early the next morning Rama awoke and told Sumantra, "The people of Ayodhya love usvery much but we have to be on our own. We must lead the life of a hermit, as I promised. Let us continue our journeybefore they wake up."So, Rama, Lakshmana and Sita, driven by Sumantra, continued their journey alone. After travelling the entire day theyreached the bank of the Ganges and decided to spend the night under a tree near a village of hunters. The chieftain,Guha, came and offered them all the comforts of his house. But Rama replied, "Thank you Guha, I appreciate your offeras a good friend but by accepting your hospitality I will break my promise. Please allow us to sleep here as the hermitsdo."Next morning the three, Rama, Lakshmana and Sita, said goodbye to Sumantra and Guha and got into a boat to crossthe river, Ganges. Rama addressed Sumantra, "Return to Ayodhya and console my father."By the time Sumantra reached Ayodhya Dasharatha was dead, crying until his last breath, "Rama, Rama, Rama!"Vasishtha sent a messenger to Bharata asking him to return to Ayodhya without disclosing the details.Bharata immediately returned with Shatrughna. As he entered the city of Ayodhya, he realized that something wasterribly wrong. The city was strangely silent. He went straight to his mother, Kaikeyi. She looked pale. Bharat impatientlyasked, "Where is father?" He was stunned by the news. Slowly he learned about Ramas exile for fourteen years andDasharathas demise with the departure of Rama.
  4. 4. Bharata could not believe that his mother was the cause of the disaster. Kakyei tried to make Bharata understand thatshe did it all for him. But Bharata turned away from her with disgust and said, "Dont you know how much I love Rama?This kingdom is worth nothing in his absence. I am ashamed to call you my mother. You are heartless. You killed myfather and banished my beloved brother. I will not have anything to do with you for as long as I live." Then Bharata leftfor Kaushalyas apartment. Kakyei realized the mistake she made.Kaushalya received Bharata with love and affection. Addressing Bharata she said, "Bharata, the kingdom is waiting foryou. No one will oppose you for ascending the throne. Now that your father is gone, I would also like to go to the forestand live with Rama."Bharata could not contain himself any further. He burst into tears and promised Kaushalya to bring Rama back toAyodhya as quickly as possible. He understood the throne rightfully belonged to Rama. After completing the funeralrites for Dasharatha, Bharata started for Chitrakut where Rama was staying. Bharata halted the army at a respectfuldistance and walked alone to meet Rama. Seeing Rama, Bharata fell at his feet begging forgiveness for all the wrongdoings.When Rama asked, "How is father?" Bharat began to cry and broke the sad news; "Our father has left for heaven. Atthe time of his death, he constantly took your name and never recovered from the shock of your departure." Ramacollapsed. When he came to senses he went to river, Mandakini, to offer prayers for his departed father.The next day, Bharata asked Rama to return to Ayodhya and rule the kingdom. But Rama firmly replied, "I cannotpossibly disobey my father. You rule the kingdom and I shall carry out my pledge. I will come back home only afterfourteen years."When Bharata realized Ramas firmness in fulfilling his promises, he begged Rama to give him his sandals. Bharata toldRama the sandals will represent Rama and he would carry out the duties of the kingdom only as Ramas representative.Rama gracefully agreed. Bharata carried the sandals to Ayodhya with great reverence. After reaching the capital, heplaced the sandals on the throne and ruled the kingdom in Ramas name. He left the palace and lived like a hermit, asRama did, counting the days of Ramas return.When Bharata left, Rama went to visit Sage Agastha. Agastha asked Rama to move to Panchavati on the bank ofGodavari River. It was a beautiful place. Rama planned to stay at Panchavati for some time. So, Lakshamana quicklyput up an elegant hut and they all settled down.Surpanakha, the sister of Ravana, lived in Panchavati. Ravana was then the most powerful Asura king who lived inLanka (todays Ceylon). One day Surpanakha happened to see Rama and instantly fell in love with him. She requestedRama to be her husband.Rama was amused, and smilingly said, "As you see I am already married. You can request Lakshmana. He is young,handsome and is alone without his wife."Surpanakha took Ramas word seriously and approached Lakshmana. Lakshmana said, "I am Ramas servant. Youshould marry my master and not me, the servant."Surpanakha got furious with the rejection and attacked Sita in order to devour her. Lakshmana swiftly intervened, andcut off her nose with his dagger. Surpanakha ran away with her bleeding nose, crying in pain, to seek help from herAsura brothers, Khara and Dushana. Both the brothers got red with anger and marched their army towards Panchavati.Rama and Lakshmana faced the Rakshasas and finally they were all killed.Surpanakha was terror stricken. She immediately flew to Lanka to seek her brother Ravanas protection. Ravana wasoutraged to see her sister mutilated. Surpanakha described all that happened. Ravana was interested when he heardthat Sita is the most beautiful woman in the world, Ravana decided to abduct Sita. Rama loved Sita very much andcould not live without her.Ravana made a plan and went to see Maricha. Maricha had the power of changing himself into any form he wantedalong with the appropriate voice imitation. But Maricha was afraid of Rama. He still could not get over the experience hehad when Rama shot an arrow that hurled him far into the sea. This happened in Vashishthas hermitage. Maricha triedto persuade Ravana to stay away from Rama but Ravana was determined.
  5. 5. "Maricha!" shouted Ravana, "You have only two choices, help me to carry out my plan or prepare for death." Marichapreferred to die in Ramas hand than be killed by Ravana. So he agreed to help Ravana in the abduction of Sita.Maricha took the form of a beautiful golden deer and began to graze near Ramas cottage in Panchavati. Sita wasattracted towards the golden deer and requested Rama to get the golden deer for her. Lakshmana warned that thegolden deer may be a demon in disguise. By then Rama already started to chase the deer. He hurriedly instructedLakshmana to look after Sita and ran after the deer. Very soon Rama realized that the deer is not a real one. He shot anarrow which hit the deer and Maricha was exposed.Before dying, Maricha imitated Rams voice and shouted, "Oh Lakshmana! Oh Sita,! Help! Help!"Sita heard the voice and asked Lakshmana to run and rescue Rama. Lakshmana was hesitant. He was confident thatRama is invincible and the voice was only a fake. He tried to convince Sita but she insisted. Finally Lakshmana agreed.Before his departure, he drew a magic circle, with the tip of his arrow, around the cottage and asked her not to cross theline."As long as you stay within the circle you will be safe with the grace of God" said Lakshmana and hurriedly left in searchof Rama.From his hiding place Ravana was watching all that was happening. He was glad that his trick worked. As soon as hefound Sita alone, he disguised himself as a hermit and came near Sitas cottage. He stood beyond the protection line ofLakshmana, and asked for alms (bhiksha). Sita came out with a bowl full of rice to offer to the holy man, while stayingwithin the protection line drawn by Lakshmana. The hermit asked her to come near and offer. Sita was unwilling to crossthe line when Ravana pretended to leave the place without alms. As Sita did not want to annoy the sage, she crossedthe line to offer the alms.Ravana did not lose the opportunity. He quickly pounced on Sita and seized her hands, declaring, "I am Ravana, theking of Lanka. Come with me and be my queen." Very soon Ravanas chariot left the ground and flew over the cloudson way to Lanka.Rama felt distressed when he saw Lakshmana. "Why did you leave Sita alone? The golden deer was Maricha indisguise. "Lakshman tried to explain the situation when both the brothers suspected a foul play and ran towards the cottage. Thecottage was empty, as they feared. They searched, and called out her name but all in vain. Finally they were exhausted.Lakshmana tried to console Rama as best as he could. Suddenly they heard a cry. They ran towards the source andfound a wounded eagle lying at the floor. It was Jatayu, the king of eagles and a friend of Dasharatha.Jatayu narrated with great pain, "I saw Ravana abducting Sita. I attacked him when Ravana cut my wing and made mehelpless. Then he flew towards the south." After saying this, Jatayu died on the lap of Rama. Rama and Lakshmanaburried Jatayu and then moved towards the south.On their way, Rama and Lakshmana met a ferocious demon, called Kabandha. Kabandha attacked Rama andLakshmana. When he was about to devour them, Rama struck Kabandha with a fatal arrow. Before his death, Kabandhdisclosed his identity. He had a beautiful form which was changed by a curse to the form of a monster. Kabandharequested Rama and Lakshmana to burn him into ashes and that will bring him back to the old form. He also advisedRama to go to the monkey king Sugrive, who lived in the Rishyamukha mountain, to get help in regaining Sita.On his way to meet Sugriva, Rama visited the hermitage of an old pious woman, Shabari. She was waiting for Rama fora long time before she could give up her body. When Rama and Lakshmana made their appearance, Shabaris dreamwas fulfilled. She washed their feet, offered them the best nuts and fruits that she collected for years. Then she tookRamas blessings and departed for the heaven.After a long walk, Rama and Lakshmana reached the Rishyamukha mountain to meet Sugriva. Sugriva had a brotherVali, the king of Kishkindha. They were once good friends. This changed when they went to fight with a giant. The giantran into a cave and Vali followed him, asking Sugriva to wait outside. Sugriva waited for a long time and then returned tothe palace in grief, thinking that Vali was killed. He then became the king upon the request of the minister. Aftersometime, Vali suddenly appeared. He was mad with Sugriva and blamed him to be a cheater. Vali was strong. Hedrove Sugriva out of his kingdom and took away his wife. Ever since, Sugriva had been living in the Rishyamukhamountain, which was out of bound for Vali because of a Rishis curse.
  6. 6. On seeing Rama and Lakshmana from a distance, and not knowing the purpose of their visit, Sugriva sent his closefriend Hanuman to find out their identity. Hanuman, disguised as an ascetic, came to Rama and Lakshmana. Thebrothers told Hanuman of their intention to meet Sugriva because they wanted his help to find Sita. Hanuman wasimpressed by their courteous behavior and removed his garb. Then he carried the princes on his shoulder to Sugriva.There Hanuman introduced the brothers and narrated their story. He then told Sugriva of their intention to come to him.In return, Sugriva told his story and sought help from Rama to kill Vali, otherwise, he could not help even if he wantedto. Rama agreed. Hanuman then kindled a fire to bear witness to the alliance made.In due course, Vali was killed and Sugriva became the king of Kishkindha. Soon after Sugriva took over the kingdom ofVali, he ordered his army to proceed in the search of Sita.Rama specially called Hanuman and gave his ring saying, "If any one finds Sita, it will be you Hanuman. Keep this ringto prove your identity as my messenger. Give it to Sita when you meet her." Hanuman most respectfully tied up the ringto his waist and joined the search party.As Sita flew, she dropped her ornaments on the ground. These were traced by the monkey army and it was concludedthat Sita was carried southwards. When the monkey (Vanara) army reached the Mahendra Hill, located on the southshore of India, they met Sampati, the brother of Jatayu. Sampati confirmed that Ravana took Sita to Lanka. Themonkeys were perplexed , how to cross the huge sea that stretched in front of them.Angada, the son of Sugriva, asked, "Who can cross the ocean?" silence prevailed, until Hanuman came up to give a try.Hanuman was the son of Pavana, the wind god. He had a secret gift from his father. He could fly. Hanuman enlargedhimself to a huge size and took a jump to cross the ocean. After overcoming many obstacles, at last Hanuman reachedLanka. He soon contracted his body and alighted as a tiny insignificant creature. He soon passed through the cityunnoticed and managed to enter the palace quietly. He went through every chamber but could not see Sita.Finally, Hanuman located Sita in one of the gardens of Ravana, called Ashoka grove (Vana). She was surrounded bythe Rakshashis who were guarding her. Hanuman hid on a tree and watched Sita from a distance. She was in deepdistress, crying and praying to God for her relief. Hanumans heart melted in pity. He took Sita as his mother.Just then Ravana entered the garden and approached Sita. "I have waited enough. Be sensible and become my queen.Rama can not cross the ocean and come through this impregnable city. You better forget about him."Sita sternly replied, "I have repeatedly told you to return me to Lord Rama before his wrath falls upon you."Ravana got furious, "You have gone beyond the limits of my patience. You give me no choice than to kill you unless youchange your mind. Within a few days I shall be back."As soon as Ravana left, other Rakshashis, who were attending Sita, came back and suggested her to marry Ravanaand enjoy the enviable wealth of Lanka." Sita kept quiet.Slowly the Rakshashis wandered away, Hanuman came down from his hiding place and gave Ramas ring to Sita. Sitawas thrilled. She wanted to hear about Rama and Lakshmana. After conversing for a while Hanuman asked Sita to takea ride on her back to return to Rama. Sita did not agree."I do not want to return home secretly" said Sita, "I want Rama to defeat Ravana and take me back with honor."Hanuman agreed. Then Sita gave her necklace to Hanuman as an evidence confirming their meeting.Before departing from the Ashoka grove (Vana), Hanuman wanted Ravana to have a lesson for his misconduct. So hebegan to destroy the Ashoka grove by uprooting the trees. Soon the Rakshasa warriors came running to catch themonkey but were beaten up. The message reached Ravana. He was enraged. He asked Indrajeet, his able son, tocapture Hanuman. A fierce battle ensued and Hanuman was finally captured when Indrajeet used the most powerfulweapon, the Brahmastra missile. Hanuman was taken to Ravanas court and the captive stood in front of the king.Hanuman introduced himself as the messenger of Rama. "You have abducted the wife of my all powerful master, LordRama. If you want peace, return her with honor to my master or else, you and your kingdom will be destroyed."
  7. 7. Ravana was wild with rage. He ordered to kill Hanuman instantly when his younger brother Vibhishana objected. "Youcan not kill a kings envoy" said Vibhishana. Then Ravana ordered Hanumans tail to be set on fire.The Rakshasa army took Hanuman outside the hall, while Hanuman increased his size and lengthened his tail. It waswrapped with rags and ropes and soaked in oil. He was then paraded through the streets of Lanka and a big mobfollowed to have fun. The tail was set on fire but because of his divine blessing Hanuman did not feel the heat. He soonshrank his size and shook off the ropes that bound him and escaped. Then, with the torch of his burning tail, he jumpedfrom roof to roof to set the city of Lanka on fire. People began to run, creating chaos and hideous cries. Finally,Hanuman went to the sea shore and put off the fire in the sea water. The he began his homeward flight.When Hanuman joined the monkey army and narrated his experience, they all laughed. Soon the army returned toKishkindha.Then Hanuman quickly went to Rama to give his first-hand account. He took out the jewel that Sita gave and placed it inRamas hands. Rama burst into tears when he saw the jewel.He addressed Hanuman and said, "Hanuman! You have achieved what none else could. What can I do for you?"Hanuman prostrated before Rama and sought his divine blessing.Sugriva then discussed in detail with Rama their next course of action. On an auspicious hour the entire monkey armyset out from Kishkindha towards Mahendra Hill, located on the opposite side of Lanka. Upon reaching Mahendra Hill,Rama faced the same problem, how to cross the ocean with the army. He called for a meeting of all the monkey chiefs,and sought their suggestions for a solution.When Ravana heard from his messengers that Rama had already arrived at Mahendra Hill, and was preparing to crossthe ocean to Lanka, he summoned his ministers for advice. They unanimously decided to fight Rama to his death. Tothem, Ravana was indestructible and they, undefeatable. Only Vibhishana, the younger brother of Ravana, wascautious and opposed to this.Vibhishana said, "Brother Ravana, you must return the chaste woman, Sita, to her husband, Rama, seek hisforgiveness and restore peace."Ravana became upset with Vibhishana and told him to leave the kingdom of Lanka.Vibhishana, through his magical power, reached Mahendra Hill and sought permission to meet Rama. The monkeyswere suspicious but took him to Rama as a captive. Vibhishana explained to Rama all that happened in Ravanas courtand sought his asylum. Rama gave him sanctuary and Vibhishana became the closest adviser to Rama in the waragainst Ravana. Rama promised Vibhishana to make him the future king of Lanka.To reach Lanka, Rama decided to build a bridge with the help of the monkey engineer Nala. He also summonedVaruna, the God of the Ocean, to cooperate by staying calm while the bridge was in the making. Immediately thousandsof monkeys set about the task of gathering the materials to build the bridge. When the materials were piled up in heaps,Nala, the great architect, started to build the bridge. It was a stupendous undertaking. But the entire monkey armyworked hard and completed the bridge in just five days. The army crossed over to Lanka.After crossing the ocean, Rama sent Angada, the son of Sugrive, to Ravana as a messenger. Angada went to Ravanascourt and delivered Ramas message, "Return Sita with honor or face destruction." Ravana became enraged andordered him out of the court immediately.Angada returned with Ravanas message and preparation for the war began. The next morning Rama ordered themonkey army to attack. The monkeys rushed forward and hurled huge boulders against the city walls and gates. Thebattle continued for a long time. Thousands were dead on each side and the ground soaked in blood.When Ravanas army was losing, Indrajeet, Ravanas son, took the command. He had the ability to fight while stayinginvisible. His arrows tied up Rama and Lakshmana with serpents. The monkeys began to run with the fall of theirleaders. Suddenly, Garuda, the king of the birds, and the sworn enemy of the serpents, came to their rescue. All of thesnakes slithered away leaving the two brave brothers, Rama and Lakshmana, free.
  8. 8. Hearing this, Ravana himself came forward. He hurled the powerful missile, Shakti, at Lakshmana. It descended like afierce thunderbolt and hit hard at Lakshmanas chest. Lakshmana fell down senseless.Rama wasted no time to come forward and challenged Ravana himself. Following a fierce fight Ravanas chariot wassmashed and Ravana was sorely wounded. Ravana stood helpless before Rama whereupon Rama took pity on himand said, "Go and rest now. Return tomorrow to resume our fight." In the mean time Lakshmana recovered.Ravana was shamed and called upon his brother, Kumbhakarna for assistance. Kumbhakarna had the habit of sleepingfor six months at a time. Ravana ordered him to be awakened. Kumbhakarna was in a deep sleep and it took thebeating of drums, piercing of sharp instruments and elephants walking on him to awaken him. He was informed ofRamas invasion and Ravanas orders. After eating a mountain of food, Kumbhakarna appeared in the battlefield. Hewas huge and strong. When he approached the monkey army, like a walking tower, the monkeys took to their heels interror. Hanuman called them back and challenged Kumbhakarna. A great fight ensued until Hanuman was wounded.Kumbhakarna headed towards Rama, ignoring the attack of Lakshmana and others. Even Rama found Kumbhakarnadifficult to kill. Rama finally discharged the powerful weapon that he obtained from the wind God, Pavana. Kumbhakarnafell dead.Hearing the news of his brothers death, Ravana swooned away. After he recovered, he lamented for a long time andthen called Indrajeet. Indrajeet consoled him and promised to defeat the enemy quickly.Indrajeet began to engage in the battle safely hidden behind the clouds and invisible to Rama. Rama and Lakshmanaseemed to be helpless to kill him, as he could not be located. Arrows came from all directions and finally one of thepowerful arrows hit Lakshmana. Everyone thought this time Lakshmana was dead and Sushena, the physician of theVanara army, was called. He declared that Lakshmana was only in a deep coma and instructed Hanuman to leaveimmediately for Gandhamadhana Hill, located near the Himalayas. Gandhamadhana Hill grew the special medicine,called Sanjibani, that was needed to revive Lakshmana. Hanuman lifted himself in the air and traveled the entiredistance from Lanka to Himalaya and reached the Gandhamadhana Hill. As he was unable to locate the herb, he liftedthe entire mountain and carried it to Lanka. Sushena immediately applied the herb and Lakshmana regainedconsciousness. Rama was relieved and the battle resumed.This time Indrajeet played a trick on Rama and his army. He rushed forward in his chariot and created an image of Sitathrough his magic. Catching the image of Sita by the hair, Indrajeet beheaded Sita in front of the entire army of theVanaras. Rama collapsed. Vibhishana came to his rescue. When Rama came to senses Vibhishana explained that itwas only a trick played by Indrajeet and that Ravana would never allow Sita to be killed.Vibhishana further explained to Rama that Indrajeet was realizing his limitations to kill Rama. Hence he would soonperform a special sacrificial ceremony in order to acquire that power. If successful, he would become invincible.Vibhishana suggested Lakshmana should go immediately to obstruct that ceremony and slay Indrajeet before hebecame invisible again.Rama accordingly sent Lakshmana, accompanied by Vibhishana and Hanuman. They soon reached the spot whereIndrajeet was engaged in performing the sacrifice. But before the Rakshasa prince could complete it, Lakshmanaattacked him. The battle was fierce and finally Lakshmana severed Indrajeets head from his body. Indrajeet fell dead.With the fall of Indrajeet, Ravanas spirit was in complete despair. He wailed most piteously but sorrow soon gave way toanger. He furiously rushed to the battlefield to conclude the long drawn fight against Rama and his army. Forcing hisway, past Lakshmana, Ravana came face to face with Rama. The fight was intense. Finally Rama used his Brahmastra,repeated the mantras as taught by Vashishtha, and hurled it with all his might towards Ravana. The Brahmastrawhizzed through the air emitting scorching flames and then pierced the heart of Ravana. Ravana fell dead from hischariot. The Rakshasas stood silent in amazement. They could scarcely believe their eyes. The end was so sudden andfinal.After Ravanas death, Vibhishana was duly crowned as king of Lanka. The message of Ramas victory was sent to Sita.Happily she bathed and came to Rama in a palanquin. Hanuman and all other monkeys came to pay their respect.Meeting Rama, Sita was overcome by her joyous emotion. Rama, however, seemed to be far away in thought.At length Rama spoke, "I am happy to rescue you from the hands of Ravana but you have lived a year in enemysabode. It is not proper that I should take you back now."
  9. 9. Sita could not believe what Rama said. Bursting in tears Sita asked, "Was that my fault? The monster carried me awayagainst my wishes. While in his residence, my mind and my heart were fixed on my Lord, Rama, alone."Sita felt deeply grieved and decided to end her life in the fire.She turned to Lakshmana and with tearful eyes she implored him to prepare the fire. Lakshmana looked at his elderbrother, hoping for some type of reprieve, but there was no sign of emotion on Ramas face and no words came from hismouth. As instructed, Lakshmana built a large fire. Sita reverently walked around her husband and approached theblazing fire. Joining her palms in salutation, she addressed Agni, the God of fire, "If I am pure, O fire, protect me." Withthese words Sita stepped into the flames, to the horror of the spectators.Then Agni, whom Sita invoked, arose from the flames and gently lifted Sita unharmed, and presented her to Rama."Rama!" addressed Agni, "Sita is spotless and pure at heart. Take her to Ayodhya. People are waiting there for you."Rama delightfully received her. "Dont I know she is pure? I had to test her for the sake of the world so that the truthmay be known to all."Rama and Sita were now reunited and ascended on a air chariot (Pushpaka Viman), along with Lakshmana to return toAyodhya. Hanuman went ahead to apprise Bharata of their arrival.When the party reached Ayodhya, the entire city was waiting to receive them. Rama was corronated and he took up thereins of government much to the great joy of his subjects.
  10. 10. BOOK I: SITA-SWAYAWARA(The Bridal of Sita) I Loved of men in fair Ayodhya, sprung of ancient Solar Race, AYODRYA, THE RIGHTEOUS CITY Royal rishi in his duty, saintly rishi in his grace,Rich in royal worth and valour, rich in holy Vedic lore,Dasa-ratha ruled his empire in the happy days of yore,
  11. 11. Great as INDRA in his prowess, bounteous as Twice-born men were free from passion, lust of gold KUVERA kind, and impure greed, Dauntless deeds subdued his foemen, lofty faith Faithful to their Rites and Scriptures, truthful in their subdued his mind! word and deed, Like the ancient monarch Manu, father of the human Altar blazed in every mansion, from each home was race, bounty given,Dasa-ratha ruled his people with a fathers loving grace, Stooped no man to fulsome falsehood, questioned none the will of Heaven.Truth and Justice swayed each action and each baser motive quelled Kshatras bowed to holy Brahmans, Vaisyas to thePeoples Love and Monarchs Duty every thought and Kshatras bowed deed impelled, Toiling Sudras lived by labour, of their honest duty proud,And his town like INDRAS city,--tower and dome and turret brave-- To the Gods and to the Fathers, to each guest in virtueRose in proud and peerless beauty on Sarayus limpid trained, wave! Rites were done with true devotion as by holy writ ordained, Peaceful lived the righteous people, rich in wealth in merit high, Pure each caste in due observance, stainless was each Envy dwelt not in their bosoms and their accents ancient rite, shaped no lie, And the nation thrived and prospered by its old and matchless might,Fathers with their happy households owned their cattle, corn, and gold, And each man in truth abiding lived a long and peaceful Galling penury and famine in Ayodhya had no hold, life, With his sons and with his grandsons, with his loved Neighbours lived in mutual kindness helpful with their and honoured wife. ample wealth, None who begged the wasted refuse, none who lived Thus was ruled the ancient city by her monarch true by fraud and stealth! and bold, As the earth was ruled by Mann in the misty days of And they wore the gem and earring, wreath and old, fragrant sandal paste, And their arms were decked with bracelets, and their Troops who never turned in battle, fierce as fire and necks with nishkas graced, strong and brave, Guarded well her lofty ramparts as the lions guard the Cheat and braggart and deceiver lived not in the cave. ancient town, Proud despiser of the lowly wore not insults in their Steeds like INDRAS in their swiftness came from far frown, Kambojas land, From Vanaya and Vahlika and from Sindhus rock- Poorer fed not on the richer, hireling friend upon the bound strand, great, None with low and lying accents did upon the proud Elephants of mighty stature from the Vindhya man wait mountains came, Or from deep and darksome forests round Himalays Men to plighted vows were faithful, faithful was each peaks of fame, loving wife, Impure thought and wandering fancy stained not holy Matchless in their mighty prowess, peerless in their wedded life, wondrous speed, Nobler than the noble tuskers sprung from high celestial Robed in gold and graceful garments, fair in form and breed. fair in face, Winsome were Ayodhyas daughters, rich in wit and Thus Ayodhya, "virgin city,"--faithful to her haughty womans grace name,--
  12. 12. Ruled by righteous Dasa-ratha won a world-embracing And where midst assembled monarchs sat Videhas fame, godlike king, With a mighty toil and effort did the eight-wheeledStrong-barred gates and lofty arches, tower and dome chariot bring. and turret highDecked the vast and peopled city fair as mansions of "This the weapon of Videha," proudly thus the peers the sky. begun, "Be it shewn to royal Rama, Dasa-rathas righteous Queens of proud and peerless beauty born of houses son," rich in fame,Loved of royal Dasa-ratha to his happy mansion came, "This the bow," then spake the monarch to the risha famed of old,Queen Kausalya blessed with virtue true and righteous To the true and righteous Rama and to Lakshman Rama bore, young and bold,Queen Kaikeyi young and beauteous bore him Bharat rich in lore, "This the weapon of my fathers prized by kings from age to age, Queen Simitra bore the bright twins, Lakshman and Mighty chiefs and sturdy warriors could not bend it, Satruglina bold, noble sage Four brave princes served their father in the happy days of old! Gods before the bow of RUDRA have in righteous terror quailed, II Rakshas fierce and stout Asuras have in futile effort failed, MITHILA, AND THE BREAKING OF THE BOW Mortal man will struggle vainly RUDRAS wondrousJanak monarch of Videha spake his memage near and bow to bend, far, Vainly strive to string the weapon and the shining dart He shall win my peerless Sita who shall bend my bow to send, of war, Holy saint and royal rishi, here is Janaks ancient bow, Suitors came from farthest regions, warlike princes Shew it to Ayodhyas princes, speak to them my kingly known to fame, vow! Vainly strove to wield the weapon, left Videha in their shame. Viswa-mitra humbly listened to the words the monarch said,Viswa-mitra royal rishi, Rama true and Lakshman bold, To the brave and righteous Rama, Janaks mighty bow Came to fair Mithilas city from Ayodhya famed of old, displayed, Spake in pride the royal rishi: "Monarch of Videhas Rama lifted high the cover of the pondrous iron car, throne, Gazed with conscious pride and prowess on the mighty Grant, the wondrous bow of RUDRA be to princely bow of war. Rama shown." "Let me," humbly spake the hero, "on this bow myJanak spake his royal mandate to his lords and warriors fingers place, bold: Let me lift and bend the weapon, help me with your "Bring ye forth the bow of RUDRA decked in garlands loving grace." and in gold," "Be it so," the rishi answered, "be it so," the monarch And his peers and proud retainers waiting on the said, monarchs call, Rama lifted high the weapon on his stalwart arms Brought the great and goodly weapon from the citys displayed, inner hall. Wondring gazed the kings assembled as the son ofStalwart men of ample stature pulled the mighty iron car Raghus race In which rested all-inviolate Janaks dreaded bow of Proudly raised the bow of RUDRA with a warriors war, stately grace,
  13. 13. Proudly strung the bow Of RUDRA which the kings had III tried in vain Drew the cord with force resistless till the weapon THE EMBASSY TO AYODHYA snapped in twain! Three nights halting in their journey with their steedsLike the thunders pealing accent rose the loud terrific fatigued and spent, clang, Envoys from Mithilas monarch to Ayodhyas city went,And the firm earth shook and trembled and the hills in echoes rang, And by royal mandate bidden stepped within the palace hall.And the chiefs and gathered monarchs fell and fainted Where the ancient Dasa-ratha sat with peers and in their fear, courtiers all,And the men of many nations shook the dreadful sound to hear! And with greetings and obeisance spake their message calm and bold,Pale and white the startled monarchs slowly from their Softly fell their gentle accents as their happy tale they terror woke, told. And with royal grace and greetings Janak to the rishi spoke: Greetings to thee, mighty monarch, greetings to each priest and peer,Now my ancient eyes have witnessed wondrous deed Wishes for thy health and safety from Videhas king we by Rama done, bear, Deed surpassing thought or fancy wrought by Dasa- rathas son, Janak monarch of Videha for thy happy life hath prayed,And the proud and peerless princess, Sita glory of my And by Viswa-mitras bidding words of gladsome house, message said:Sheds on me an added lustre as she weds a godlike spouse, Known on earth my plighted promise, spoke by heralds near and far,True shall be my plighted promise, Sita dearer than my He shall win my peerless Sita who shall bend my bow life, of war,-- Won by worth and wondrous valour shall be Ramas faithful wife Monarchs came and princely suitors, chiefs and warriors known to fame, Grant us leave, O royal rishi, grant us blessings kind Baffled in their fruitless effort left Mithila in their shame, and fair,Envoys mounted on my chariot to Ayodhya shall repair, Rama came with gallant Lakshman by their proud preceptor led, They shall speak to Ramas father glorious feat by Bent and broke the mighty weapon, he the beauteous Rama done, bride shall wed!They shall speak to Dasa-ratha, Sita is by valour won, Rama strained the weapon stoutly till it snapped and They shall say the noble princes safely live within our broke in twain, walls, In the concourse of the monarchs, in the throng ofThey shall ask him by his presence to adorn our palace arméd men, balls Rama wins the peerless princess by the righteous will Pleased at heart the sage assented, envoys by the of Heaven, monarch sent, I redeem my plighted promise-be thy kind permissionTo Ayodhyas distant city with the royal message went. given! Monarch of Kosalas country! with each lord and peer and priest, Welcome to Mithilas city, welcome to Videhas feast, Joy thee in thy Ramas triumph, joy thee with a fathers pride,
  14. 14. Let each prince of proud Kosala win a fair Videha- With the fleetest of my coursers, and upon my orders bride! wait. These by Viswa-mitras bidding are the words our Vama-deva and Vasishtha versed in Vedas ancient monarch said lore,This by Sata-nandas counsel is the quest that he hath Kasyapa and good Jabali sprung from holy saints of made." yore,Joyful was Kosalas monarch, spake to chieftains in the Markandeya in his glory, Katyayana in his pride, hall, Let each priest and proud preceptor with Kosalas Vama-deva and Vasishtha and to priests and monarch ride, Brahmans all: Harness to my royal chariot strong and stately steeds of "Priests and peers! in far Mithila, so these friendly war, envoys tell, For the envoys speed my journey and the way is longRighteous Rama, gallant Lakshman, in the royal palace and far." dwell, With each priest and proud retainer Dasa-ratha led theAnd our brother of Videha prizes Ramas warlike pride, way, To each prince of proud Kosala yields a fair Videha- Glittering ranks of forces followed in their four-fold bride, dread array, If it please ye, priests and chieftains, speed we to Four days on the way they journeyed till they reached Mithila fair, Videhas land,World-renowned is Janaks virtue, Heaven-inspired his Janak with a courteous welcome came to greet the learning rare!" royal band,Spake each peer and holy Brahman: "Dasa-rathas will Joyously Videhas monarch greeted every priest and be done!" peer,Spake the king unto the envoys: "Part we with the rising Greeted ancient Dasa-ratha in his accents soft and sun!" clear: Honoured with a regal honour, welcomed to a rich "Hast thou come, my royal brother, on my house to repast, yield thy grace, Gifted envoys from Mithila day and night in gladness Hast thou made a peaceful journey, pride of Raghus passed! royal race? IV Welcome! for Mithilas people seek my royal guest to greet, MEETING OF JANAK AND DASA-RATHA Welcome! for thy sons of valour long their loving sire to meet,On Ayodhyas tower and turret now the golden morning woke, Welcome to the priest Vasishtha versed in Vedas Dasa-ratha girt by courtiers thus to wise Sumantra ancient lore, spoke: Welcome every righteous rishi sprung from holy saints of yore!Bid the keepers of my treasure with their waggons lead the way, And my evil fates are vanquished and my race isRide in front with royal riches, gold and gems in bright sanctified, array, With the warlike race of Raghu thus in loving bonds allied,Bid my warriors skilled in duty lead the four-fold ranks of war, Sacrifice and rites auspicious we ordain with rising sun,Elephants and noble chargers, serried foot and battle- Ere the evenings darkness closes, happy nuptials shall car, be done!"Bid my faithful chariot-driver harness quick each car of state,
  15. 15. Thus in kind and courteous accents Janak spake his Sends his kindly love and greetings with his blessings purpose high, and his grace,And his royal love responding, Dasa-ratha made reply: And he asks if Dasa-ratha prospers in his wonted "Gift betokens givers bounty, so our ancient sages health, sing, If his friends and fond relations live in happiness and And thy righteous fame and virtue grace thy gift, wealth. Videhas king! Queen Kaikeyi is my sister, and to see her son I came, World-renowmed is Janaks bounty, Heaven-inspired Bharat prince of peerless virtue, worthy of his fathers his holy grace, fame,And we take his boon and blessina as an honour to our race!" Aye, to see that youth of valour, by my royal father sent, To Ayodhyas ancient city with an anxious heart I went, Royal grace and kingly greeting, marked the ancient monarchs word, In the city of Mithila,--thus did all thy subjects say, Janak with a grateful pleasure Dasa-rathas answer With his sons and with his kinsmen Dasa-ratha makes heard, his stay, And the Brahmans and preceptors joyously the Hence in haste I journeyed hither, travelling late and midnight spent, early dawn,And in converse pure and pleasant and in sacred sweet For to do thee due obeisance and to greet my sisters content. son!"Rigliteous Rama, gallant Lakshman piously their father Spake the young and proud Kaikeya, dear and duly- greet, greeted guest, Duly make their deep obeisance, humbly touch his Dasa-ratha on his brother choicest gifts and honours royal feet, pressed.And the night is filled with gladness for the king revered Brightly dawned the happy morning, and Kosalas king and old, of fameHonoured by the saintly Janak, greeted by his children With his sons and wise Vasishtha to the sacred yajna bold, came, On Mithilas tower and turret stars their silent vigils Rama and his gallant brothers decked in gem and jewel keep, bright, When each sacred rite completed, Janak seeks his In th auspicious hour of morning did the blest Kautuka nightly sleep. rite, V And beside their royal father piously the princes stood, And to fair Videlias monarch spake Vasishtha wise and THE PREPARATION good:All his four heroic princes now with Dasa-ratha stayed "Dasa-ratha waits expectant with each proud andIn Mithilas ancient city, and their fathers will obeyed, princely son, Waits upon the bounteous giver, for each holy rite is Thither came the bold Yudhajit prince of proud done, Kaikeyas line,On the day that Dasa-ratha made his gifts of gold and Twixt the giver and the taker sacred word is sacred kine, deed, Seal with gift thy plighted promise, let the nuptial rites And he met the ancient monarch, for his health and proceed safety prayed,Made his bow and due obeisance and in gentle accents Thus the righteous-souled Vasishtha to Videhas said: monarch prayed, Janak versed in holy Vedas thus in courteous accents "List, O king! my royal father, monarch of Kaikeyas said: race,
  16. 16. "Wherefore waits the king expectant? Free to him this Spake with fathers fond emotion and the holy rite was royal dome, done:Since my kingdom is his empire and my palace is his home, "This is Sita child of Janak, dearer unto him than life, Henceforth sharer of thy virtue, be. she, prince, thyAnd the maidens, flame -resplendent, done each fond faithful wife, Kautuka rite,Beaming in their bridal beauty tread the sacrificial site Of thy weal and woe partaker, be she thine in every land, I beside the lighted altar wait upon thy sacred hest, Cherish her in joy and sorrow, clasp her hand within thyAnd auspicious is the moment, sage Vasishtha knows hand, the rest As the shadow to the substance, to her lord is faithful Let the peerless Dasa-ratha, proud Kosalas king of wife, might, And my Sita best of women follows thee in death or With his sons and honoured sages enter on the holy life!" site, Tears bedew his ancient bosom, gods and men his Let the righteous sage Vasishtha, sprung from Vedic wishes share, saints of old, And he sprinkles holy water on the blest and wedded Celebrate the happy wedding; be the sacred mantras pair. told!" Next he turned to Sitas sister, Urmila of beauty rare, VI And to Lakshman young and valiant spake in accents soft and fair: THE WEDDING Lakshman, dauntless in thy duty, loved of men and Sage Vasishtha skilled in duty placed Videhas Gods above, honoured king, Take my dear devoted daughter, Urmila of stainless Viswa-mitra, Sata-nanda, all within the sacred ring, love,And he raised the holy altar as the ancient writs ordain, Lakshman, fearless in thy virtue, take thy true andDecked and graced with scented garlands grateful unto faithful wife, gods and men, Clasp her hand within thy fingers, be she thine in death or life!" And he set the golden ladles, vases pierced by artists skilled, To his brothers child Mandavi, Janak turned with Holy censers fresh and fragrant, cups with sacred fathers love, honey filled, Yielded her to righteous Bharat, prayed for blessings from above: Sanka bowls and shining salvers, arghya plates for honoured guest, "Bharat, take the fair Mandavi, be she thine in death or Parchéd rice arranged in dishes, corn unhusked that life, filled the rest, Clasp her hand within thy fingers as thy true and faithful wife!"And with careful hand Vasishtha grass around the altar flung, Last of all was Sruta-kriti, fair in form and fair in face, Offered gift to lighted AGNI and the sacred mantra And her gentle name was honoured for her acts of sung! righteous grace,Softly came the sweet-eyed Sita,--bridal blush upon her "Take her by the hand, Satrughna, be she thine in brow, death or life, Rama in his manly beauty came to take the sacred As the shadow to the suistance, to her lord is faithful vow, wife!" Janak placed his beauteous daughter facing Dasa- Then the princes held the maidens, hand embraced in rathas soil, loving hand,
  17. 17. And Vasishtha spake the mantra, holiest priest in all the Greeted by his loving subjects, welcomed by his priests land, of fame, Dasa-ratha, with the princes to his happy city came, And as ancient rite ordaineth, and as sacred laws require, With the brides and stately princes in the town he heldStepped each bride and princely bridegroom round the his way, altars lighted fire, Entered slow his lofty palace bright as peak of Himalay.Round Videhas ancient monarch, round the holy rishis Queen Kausalya blessed with virtue, Queen Kaikeyi in all, her pride,Ughtly stepped the gentle maidens, proudly stepped the Queen Sumitra sweetly loving, greeted every happy princes tall! bride, And a rain of flowers descended from the sky serene Soft-eyed Sita noble-destined, Urmila of spotless fame, and fair, Mandavi and Sruta-kirti to their loving mothers came. And a soft celestial music filled the fresh and fragrant air, Decked in silk and queenly garments they performed each pious rite, Bright Gandkarvas skilled in music waked the sweet Brought their blessings on the household, bowed to celestial song Gods of holy might,Fair Apsaras in their beauty on the greensward tripped along! Bowed to all the honoured elders, blest the children with their love, As the flowery rain descended and the music rose in And with soft and sweet endearment by their loving pride, consorts moved.Thrice around the lighted altar every bridegroom led his bride, Happy were the wedded princes peerless in their warlike might, And the nuptial rites were ended, princes took their And they dwelt in stately mansions like KUVERAS brides away, mansions bright. Janak followed with his courtiers, and the town was proud and gay! Loving wife and troops of kinsmen, wealth and glory on them wait, VII Filial love and fond affection sanctify their happy fate. RETURN TO AYODRYA Once when on the palace chambers bright the golden morning woke, With his wedded sons and daughters and his guard in To his son the gentle Bharat, thus the ancient monarch bright array, spoke: To the famed and fair Ayodhya, Dasa-ratha held his way, "Know, my son, the prince Kaikeya, Yudajit of warlike fame,And they reached the ancient city decked with banners Queen Kaikeyis honoured brother, from his distant bright and brave, regions came, And the voice of drum and trumpet hailed the home- returning brave. He hath come to take thee, Bharat, to Kaikeyas monarch bold, Fragrant blossoms strewed the pathway, song of Go and stay with them a season, greet thy grandsire welcome filled the air, loved of old."Joyous men and merry women issued forth in garments fair, Bharat heard with filial duty and he hastened to obey, Took with him the young Satrughna in his grandsires And they lifted up their faces and they waved their home to stay, hands on high,And they raised the voice of welcome as their righteous And from Rama and from Lakshman parted they with king drew nigh. many a tear, From their young and gentle consorts, from their parents ever dear,
  18. 18. And Kaikeya with the princes, with his guards and With a womans whole affection fond and trusting Sita troopers gay, loved, To his fathers western regions gladsome held his And within her faithful bosom loving Rama lived and onward way. moved, Rama with a pious duty,--favoured by the Gods And he loved her, for their parents chose her as his above,-- faithful wife, Tended still his ancient father with a never-faltering Loved her for her peerless beauty, for her true and love, trustful life, In his fathers sacred mandate still his noblest Duty Loved and dwelt within her bosom though he wore a saw, form apart,In the weal of subject nations recognised his foremost Rama in a sweet communion lived in Sitas loving heart! Law! Days of joy and months of gladness oer the gentle SitaAnd he pleased his happy mother with a fond and filial flew, care, As she like the QUEEN OF BEAUTY brighter in herAnd his elders and his kinsmen with devotion soft and graces grew, fair, And as VISHNU with his consort dwells in skies, alone, Brahmans blessed the righteous Rama for his faith in apart, gods above, Rama in a sweet communion lived in Sitas loving heart! People in the town and hamlet blessed him with their loyal love!BOOK II: VANA-GAMANA-ADESA(The Banishment) I But of all his righteous children righteous Rama won his heart, THE COUNCIL CONVENEDThus the young and brave Satrughna, Bharat ever true and bold,Went to warlike western regions where Kaikeyas lived of old, As SWAYABIBHU of all creatures, was his dearest,Where the ancient Aswa-pati ruled his kingdom broad holiest part, and fair,Hailed the sons of Dasa-ratha with a grandsires loving For his Rama strong and stately was his eldest and his care. best, Void of every baser passion and with every virtue blest! Tended with a fond affection, guarded with a gentle sway, Soft in speech, sedate and peaceful, seeking still the Stillthe princes of their father dreamt and thought by holy path, night and day, Calm in conscious worth and valour, taunt nor cavil waked his wrath,And their father in Ayodhya, great of heart and stout of hand, In the field of war excelling, boldest warrior midst the Thought of Bharat and Satrughna living in Kaikeyas bold, land. In the palace chambers musing on the tales by elders told, For his great and gallant princes were to him his life and light, Were a part of Dasa-ratha like his hands and arms of might,
  19. 19. Faithful to the wise and learned, truthful in his deed and Pondering thus within his bosom counsel from his word, courtiers sought, Rama dearly loved his people and his people loved And to crown his Rama, Regent, was his purpose and their lord! his thought, To the Brahmans pure and holy Rama due obeisance For strange signs and diverse tokens now appeared on made, earth and sky,To the poor and to the helpless deeper love and honour And his failing strength and vigour spoke his end paid, approaching nigh, Spirit of his race and nation was to high-souled Rama And he witnessed Ramas virtues filling all the world given, with love, Thoughtsthat widen human glory, deeds that ope the As the full-moons radiant lustre fills the earth from skies gates of heaven above!Not intent on idle cavil Rama spake with purpose high, Dear to him appeared his purpose, Rama to his peopleAnd the God of speech might envy when he spake or dear, made reply, Private wish and public duty made his path serene and clear, In the learning of the Vedas highest meed and glory won, Dasa-ratha called his Council, summoned chiefs from In the skill of arms the father scarcely matched the town and plain. gallant son! Welcomed too from distant regions monarchs and the kings of men, Taught by sages and by elders in the manners of his race, Mansions meet for prince andchieftain to his guests the Rama, grew in social virtues and each soft endearing monarch gave, grace, Gracious as the Lord of Creatures held the gathering rich and brave!Taught by inborn pride and wisdom patient purpose to conceal, Nathless to Kosalas Council nor Videhas monarch Deep determined was his effort, dauntless was his came, silent will! Nor the warlike chief Kaikeya, Aswa-pati king of fame, Peerless in his skill and valour steed and elephant to To those kings and near relations, ancient Dasa-ratha tame, meant,Dauntless leader of his forces, matchless in his warlike Message of the proud anointment with his greetings fame, would be sent.Higher thought and nobler duty did the righteous Rama Brightly dawned the day of gathering; in the lofty move, Council HallBy his toil and by his virtues still he sought his peoples Stately chiefs and ancient burghers came and mustered love one and all, Dasa-ratha marked his Rama with each kingly virtue And each prince and peer was seated on his cushion blest, rich and high, And from lifelong royal duties now he sought repose And on monarch Dasa-ratha eager turned his anxious and rest: eye, "Shall I see my son anointed, seated on Kosalas Girt by crownéd kings and chieftains, burghers from the throne, town and plain, In the evening of my lifetime ere my days on earth be Dasa-ratha shone like INDRA girt by heavens immortal done, train!Shall I place my ancient empire in the youthful Ramas care, Seek for me a higher duty and prepare for life more fair?"
  20. 20. II Speak your thought, my chiefs and people, if this purpose please you well, THE PEOPLE CONSULTED Or if wiser, better counsel in your wisdom ye can tell,With the voice of pealing thunder Dasa-ratha spake to Speak your thoughts without compulsion, though this all, plan to me be dear,To the princes and the burghers gathered in Ayodhyas If some middle course were wiser, if some other way hall: were clear!"Known to all, the race of Raghu rules this empire broad Gathered chieftains hailed the mandate with applauses and fair, long and loud, And hath ever loved and cherished subjects with a As the peafowls hail the thunder of the dark and laden fathers care, cloud, Tn my fathers footsteps treading I have sought the And the gathered subjects echoed loud and long the ancient path, welcome sound, Nursed my people as my children, free from passion, Till the voices of the people shook the sky and solid pride and wrath, ground! Underneath this white umbrella, seated on this royal Brahmans versed in laws of duty, chieftains in their throne, warlike pride,I have toiled to win their welfare and my task is almost Countless men from town and hamlet heard the done! mandate far and wide, Years have passed of fruitful labour, years of work by And they met in consultation, joyously with one accord, fortune blest, Freely and in measured accents, gave their answer to And the evening of my lifetime needs, my friends, the their lord: evenings rest, "Years of toil and watchful labour weigh upon thee, kingYears have passed in watchful effort, Law and Duty to of men, uphold, Young in years is righteous Rama, Heir and Regent let Effort needing strength and prowess-and my feeble him reign, limbs are old! We would see the princely Rama, Heir and Regent dulyPeers and burghers, let your monarch, now his lifelong made, labour done, Riding -on the royal tusker in the white umbrellasFor the weal of lovinor subjects on his empire seat his shade!" son, Searching still their secret purpose, seeking still their INDRA-like in peerless valour, rishi-like in holy lore, thought to know,Rama follows Dasa-ratha, but in virtues stands before! Spake again the ancient monarch in his measured words and slow:Throned in Pushyas constellation shines the moon with fuller light "I would know your inner feelings, loyal thoughts and Throned to rule his fathers empire Rama wins a loftier whispers kind, might, For a doubt within me lingers and a shadow clouds my mind, He will be your gracious monarch favoured well by FORTUNES QUEEN, True to Law and true to Duty while I rule this kingdomBy his virtue and his valour lord of earth he might have fair, been! Wherefore would you see my Rama seated as the Regent Heir?"Speak your thoughts and from this bosom lift a load of toil and care, "We would see him Heir and Regent, Dasa-ratha, On the proud throne of my fathers let me place a ancient lord, peerless heir, For his heart is blessed with valour, virtue marks his deed and word,
  21. 21. Lives not man in all the wide earth who excels the Placed his offering on his forehead, poured it on the stainless youth, lighted fire, In his loyalty to Duty, in his love of righteous Truth, Piously partook the remnant, sought for NARAYANASTruth impels his thought and action, Truth inspires his aid, soul with grace, As he kept his fast and vigils on the grass of kusaAnd his virtue fills the wide earth and exalts his ancient spread. race! With her lord the saintly Sita silent passed the sacred Bright Immortals know his valour; with his brother night, Lakshman hold Contemplating Worlds Preserver, Lord of HeavensHe hath never failed to conquer hostile town or castled ethereal height, hold, And within the sacred chamber on the grass of kusa And returning from his battles, from the duties of the lay, war, Till the crimson streaks of morning, ushered in the Riding on his royal tusker or his all-resistless car, festive day, As a father to his children to his loving men he came, Till the royal bards and minstrels chanted forth the Blessed our homes and maids and matrons till our morning call, infants lisped his name, Healing through the holy chamber, echoing through the roval hall. For our humble woes and troubles Rama hath the ready tear, Past the night of sacred vigils, in his silken robesTo our humble tales of suffering Rama lends his willing arrayed, ear! Message of the proud anointment Rama to the Brahmans said, Happy is the royal father who hath such a righteous son, And the Brahmans spake to burghers that the festive For in town and mart and hamlet every heart hath day was come, Rama won, Till the mart and crowded pathway rang with note of pipe and drum,Burghers and the toiling tillers tales of Ramas kindness say, And the townsmen heard rejoicing of the vigils of the Man and infant, maid and matron, morn and eve for night, Rama pray, Kept by Rama and by Sita, for the days auspicious rite.To the Gods and bright Immortals we our inmost wishes Rama shall be Heir and Regent, Rama shall be send, crowned to-day, May the good and godlike Rama on his fathers throne Rapid flew the gladdening message with the mornings ascend, gladsome ray,Great in gifts and great in glory, Rama doth our homage And the people of the city, maid and matron, man and own, boy,We would see the princely Rama seated on his fathers Decorated fair Ayodhya in their wild tumultuous joy! throne!" On the temples lofty steeple high as cloud above the III air, On the crossing of the pathways, in the garden green THE CITY DECORATED and fair,With his consort pious Rama, pure in deed and pure in On the merchants ample warehouse, on the shop with thought, stores displayed,After evenings due ablutions NARAYANAS chamber On the mansion of the noble by the cunning artist sought, made, Prayed unto the Lord of Creatures, NARAYANA On the gay and bright pavilion, on the high and shady Ancient Sire, trees.
  22. 22. Banners rose and glittering streamers, flags that And the men from distant hamlets poured within the city fluttered in the breeze! wall, Actors gay and nimble dancers, singers skilled in From the confines of the empire, north and south and lightsome song, west and east,With their antics and their music pleased the gay and Came to see the consecration and to share the royal gathered throng, feast! And the people met in conclaves, spake of Rama, And the rolling tide of nations raised their voices loud Regent Heir, and high,And the children by the roadside lisped of Rama brave Like the tide of sounding ocean when the full moon and fair! lights the sky, Women wove the scented garland, merry maids the And Ayodhya thronged by people from the hamlet , censer lit, mart and lea, Men with broom and sprinkled water swept the Was tumultuous like the ocean thronged by creatures of spacious mart and street, the sea!Rows of trees and posts they planted hung with lamps IV for coming night, That the midnight dark might rival splendour of the INTRIGUE noonday light In the inner palace chamber stood the proud and Troops of men and merry children laboured with a peerless queen, loving care, With a mothers joy Kaikeyi gaily watched the festive Womans skill and womans fancy made the city scene, passing fair, But with deep and deadly hatred Manthara, her nurse So that good and kindly Rama might his peoples toil and maid, approve, Marked the city bright with banners, and in scornful So that sweet and soft-eyed Sita might accept her accents said: peoples love! "Take thy presents back, Kaikeyi, for they ill befit theGroups of joyous townsmen gathered in the square or clay, lofty hall, And when clouds of sorrow darken, ill beseems thee toPraised the monarch Dasa-ratha, regent Rama young be gay, and tall: And thy folly moves my laughter though an anguish "Great and good is Dasa-ratha born of Raghus royal wakes my sigh, race, For a gladness stirs thy bosom when thy greatest woo In the fulness of his lifetime on his son he grants his is nigh! grace, Who that hath a womans wisdom, who that is a prudent And we hail the rite auspicious for our prince of wife. peerless might, Smiles in joy when prouder rival triumphs in the race of He will guard us by his valotir, he will save our life, cherished right, How can hapless Queen Kaikeyi greet this deed ofDear unto his loving brothers in his fathers palace hall, darkness done, As is Rama to his brothers dear is Rama to us all, When the favoured Queen Kausalya wins the empire for her son? Long live ancient Dasa-ratha king of Raghus royal race, Know the truth, O witless woman! Bharat is unmatchedWe shall see his son anointed by his fathers righteous in fame, grace! Rama, deep and darkly jealous, dreads thy Bharats rival claim,Thus of Ramas consecration spake the burghers one and all,