Rama

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Ram / राम

Ramayana

Ram was a son of king Dashrath, by his wife Kaushalya. Ram was one of the ten main incarnations of Vishnu, born to destroy the Daemon race and their king Ravan, who were terrorizing the people on earth.Ram and his brothers, Lakshman, Bharat and Shatrughna, grew up together at Ayodhya. While they were still youths the sage Vishvamitra sought the aid of Ram to kill the demons, who used to spoil the sacrifices performed by the sage. Dashrath, though very unwilling, was advised by his family priest Vasishth to consent to the sage's request. Ram and Lakshman then went to the hermitage of Vishvamitra and there Ram killed the demoness Tadka, but it required a good deal of persuasion from the sage before he was induced to kill a female. Vishvamitra then supplied Ram with celestial weapons. After the sacrifice was successfully completed, Vishvamitra, Ram and Lakshman to Mithila to the court of king Janak. This king had a lovely daughter named Sita, whom he offered in marriage to any one who could bend the wonderful bow which had once belonged to Shiv. Ram not only bent the bow but broke it, and thus won the hand of the princess. Dashrath and his other two sons were sent for and then the marriage ceremony took place. Ram's three brothers were also married to a sister and two cousins of Sita.


On their way back to Ayodhya, they met Parshuram, the exterminator of the Kshatriyas. Parshuram was an ardent follower of Shiv, and was offended at the breaking of Shiv's bow. He challenged Ram to string the bow of Vishnu which he had obtained from his father. Ram strung the bow and was about to make Parshuram himself as his target, when the latter, knowing that the whole universe could be destroyed by that one arrow, asked Ram to aim at the power of his penances. Thus hum-bled, Parshuram returned to the mountains. Dashrath decided to crown Ram as king, but Kaikeyi, the mother of Bharat intervened, and Ram went into exile for fourteen years to fulfil his father's promise. Ram departed with his wife Sita and his brother Lakshman, and travelling southwards, he settled down at Chitrakut in the Dandak forest. Soon after the departure of Ram, his father Dashrath died, and Bharat was called upon to ascend the throne. The latter declined, and set out for the forest with an army to bring Ram back. But Ram refused to return until as he was bound by his father's promise and Bharat declined to ascend the throne. At length, Bharat carried back with him a pair of Ram's sandals and ruled the country as his elder brother's deputy. Moving from one hermitage to another, Ram, Sita and Lakshman came to the hermitage of the sage Agastya, near the Vindhya mountains. Agastya handed to Ram a special bow, arrow and quivers, and recommended Ram to take up his abode at Panchvati, on the river Godavari, and the party accordingly proceeded there. This district was infested with Rakshas. One day, a demoness named Shurpnakha, a sister of Ravan, saw Ram and fell in love with him. Her continuous brazen advances and attack on Sita, so enraged Lakshman that he cut off her ears and nose. She brought her brothers Khar and Dushan with an army of Rakshas warriors to avenge her wrongs, but they were all destroyed by Ram. Finally, she repaired to her brother Ravan in Lanka. Ravan proceeded to Panchvati in an aerial car. His accomplice Marich lured Ram and Lakshman away from home. Ravan assumed the form of a religious mendicant and carried Sita off by force to Lanka. Ram's despair and rage at the loss of his faithful wife were terrible. The fatally wounded Jatayu told them about Ravan. After cremating him, Ram and Lakshman went in pursuit. On their way they killed Kabandh, a headless monster. From his funeral pyre rose a Gandharv, who counselled Ram to seek the aid of Sugriv, the king of Vanars. The two brothers accordingly went on their way to Sugriv, and after overcoming some obstacles and assisting Sugriv to recover Kishkindh from his brother Bali, they entered into a firm alliance with him. He received not only the support of all the forces of Sugriv and his allies, but the aid of Hanuman, son of Vayu and minister and general of Sugriv. Hanuman located the whereabouts of Sita. Ram, Lakshman, Sugriv and their army crossed over to Lanka, and after many fierce battles the city of Lanka was taken, Ravan was killed and Siti rescued. The recovery of his wife filled Ram with joy, but he doubted her honour and received her coldly. She asserted her purity by the ordeal of fire. Ram then returned, taking with him his chief allies to Ayodhya. Reunited with his other two brothers, he was solemnly crowned and began a glorious reign, with Lakshman helping him in governing the kingdom. Sita had asserted and proved her purity, and Ram believed her. But, when his subjects blamed him for taking back his wife, he resolved, although she was pregnant, to send her to spend the rest of her life at the hermitage of Valmiki. He assigned Lakshman with the task of taking Sita and abandoning her in the forest. There she delivered her twin sons Lav and Kush. When Ram performed the Ashvamedha sacrifice, Valmiki went to attend with Sita and her sons.


In the court, lav and Kush recited the Ramayan poem written by Valmiki. Ram was moved and asked them where they were. They revealed their identity and father and sons were reunited. Sita was also sent for, but Ram asked her to again prove her chastity. Wounded that Ram should still ask for proof of her honour, Sita, in the pub assembly, declared her purity, and called up, the earth, her mother, to verify her words. I did so. The ground opened and received her daughter, and Rama lost his beloved and on wife. Unable to endure life without her, he resolved to follow, and the gods favoured his determination. Time appeared to him in the form of an ascetic and told him that his task on earth was done and that he must return to heaven. Lakshman had to be abandoned as he had intervened in the private conver-sation between the former two.After Lakshman's death, life became even more unbearable to Ram, and dividing his kingdom among his two sons, drowned himself in the Saryu river and was conveyed bodily to heaven.


Ramayana

Ahalya · Rama · Bharat · Laxman · Shatrughna · Dashrath · Kaushalya · Kaikeyi · Sumitra · Shurpnakha · Janak · Sita · Ravana · Urmila · Meghnad · Vibhishan · Angad · Hanuman · Kumbhakarn · Marich · Mandodari · Vasishtha · Vishvamitra · Bali · Sugriva · Sampati · Jambvan · Manthara · Jatayu · Shabri · Lanka · Neel · Nal · Panchvati · Lav Kush · Tadka

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