Ramayana The Hindu Epic
. The story of Ramayana is the epitome of duty, devotion, morality and ideology. It depicts the character of Rama which every son, brother and king should imbibe. The other characters of Lakshman, Sita, Bharat and Hanuman along with Rama show the value of relationships and Dharma- the path of right living.
Rama s birth
. Rama was the prince of Ayodhya. He is believed to be the reincarnation of Maha Vishnu-The god who takes care of all creatures. Dashratha was the king of Ayodhya. He had three wives namely Kaushalya, Sumitra and Kaikeye. Rama was the eldest son born to Kaushalya. Lakshman and Shatrughna were born to Sumitra and Bharata was the son of Kaikeye- Dashrath's favourite wife.
Training in archery
. "Rishi Vishwamitra trained them in the skills of archery and their first test of warfare came soon when he asked them to get rid of Taraka the demoness who harrases the rishis living peacefully in the forest. Ram kills her and later her two sons Mareecha and Subahu."
Ahalya s rebirth
. On their way to Mithila, Ram frees Ahalya from a curse given by her husband Maharishi Gautama. She had become a stone but as Ram's feet touch the stone she becomes Ahalya once again.
. All the princes along with their Guru Vishwamitra reach Mithila for the swayamvara of Sita-the beautiful daughter of Janaka, the king of Mithila. He challenges all the eligible suitors to string and break the bow 'Pinaka' of Lord Shiva. Whoever was successful would marry Sita. Only Rama was able to do so and thus Sita marries Rama.
Fourteen years of exile
. King Dashratha is overwhelmed by the feats of Rama and decides to crown him the future king of Ayodhya. Kaikeye, Dashrath's beloved wife takes offence to his decision as her mind had been poisoned by Manthara, her crooked maid. She wants fourteen years of exile for Rama and Bharata, her son, to become the king of Ayodhya. Bharata had gone to visit his grandparents and was not aware of these developments. Dashratha is shattered. When he asked Kaik
Rama leaves Ayodhya
. Rama being the ideal son honours his father's word and decides to go to the forest. Sita and Lakshman also go with him as they feel it is their duty to be with Rama. As Rama, Sita and Lakshmana leave for the forest Dashratha is not able to bear this shock and dies.
Bharata s love for Ram
. When Bharata returns and learns about the exile of Rama, he rushes to call back Rama. But as Rama refuses to come back to Ayodhya, Bharata gets his 'khadau'-his slippers to Ayodhya and places them on the throne. He announces that he would only be the 'caretaker king' till the time Rama returned.
Surpanakha s episode
. In the forest Rama, Lakshmana and Sita meet Surpanakha-the sister of King Ravana. Surpanakha is charmed by the good looks of Rama who tells her that he is already married to Sita. She now approaches Lakshmana who is not interested in her. When she coaxes him further, he gets angry and chops off her nose and ears. Surpanakha cries in front of her brother Ravana, the king of Lanka and he promises to take revenge.
Ravana plans to abduct Sita 1
. He asks one of his brothers to become a beautiful golden deer to lure Sita. As she sees the deer she compels Rama to get it for her. Ram goes after the deer and as it is killed it cries foul and calls for Lakshmana's help. When Sita hears the cries, she now compels Lakshamana to go and help Rama. In spite of Lakshmana knowing that nothing could happen to his brave brother, he has to go in search of him to obey Sita's orders.
Ravana plans to abduct Sita 2
. He marks a 'Lakshmana Rekha' or safety-line outside their hut and pleads her not to step out of it. No one could harm her inside it.As Lakshmana leaves to find Rama, Ravana comes pretending to be a sage and asks for alms. He coaxes her to come out of the 'Lakshman Rekha'. Sita not wanting to displease the sage steps out of the safety line and gets abducted by Ravana.
Jatayu s sacrifice
. On way to Lanka, 'Jatayu' the king of vultures tries to rescue Sita but Ravana fights him and leaves him almost dead.Lakshmana finds Rama well and when they return they realize that Sita has been abducted. As they go in search of her they meet Jatayu who tells them that Ravana has abducted Sita and has taken her to Lanka. Jatayu dies.
Rama meets Sugreeva and Hanuman
. While moving further in the forest they meet Sugreeva- the monkey king and Hanuman-the biggest disciple of Rama. Sugreeva was dethroned by his own wicked brother Bali. Rama defeats Bali and Sugreeva gets his kingdom back. He promises to fight Ravana along with his army and Hanuman.
Hanuman finds Sita
. Hanuman now goes in search of Sita and finds her in a vatika or garden surrounded by demonesses. He comes to meet her and gives her a ring given by Rama. Sita believes him and knows she would be rescued now.Hanuman eats the fruits of the vatika and as the caretakers try to catch him, destroys the vatika. When he is taken to Ravana he orders to burn his tail. Hanuman with his power burns the entire Lanka flying from one place to another.
Rama s army reaches Lanka
. The army of monkeys and Bear Jamvant along with the commander Hanuman, Rama and Lakshmana move towards Lanka. Hanuman and his army make a bridge of stones on the sea to reach Lanka.
Rama fights Ravana
. Rama and Lakshmana now prepare to attack Ravana as Hanuman confirms the presence of Sita there. A major fight breaks between the Monkey army of Rama and the demon army of Ravana. Many of Ravana's brothers get killed but Lakshmana also gets hurt. Hanuman flies to get the 'Sanjeevni' medicine and when he fails to find it, carries the entire mountain on which it grew. Lakshmana gets well and along with Rama fights back.
Vibheeshana becomes the king of Lanka
. Ravana's brother Vibheeshana helps Ram to victory over Ravana. Ram and Sita are reunited. Sita passes the test of fire or the 'agni pareeksha' to prove her chastity and purity. They prepare to go back to Ayodhya as the period of exile is over. The kingdom of Lanka is given to Vibheeshana by Rama.
Rama Sita and Lakshmana return to Ayodhya
. As they come back to Ayodhya, the people of Ayodhya celebrate their return by lighting lamps and festivities begin. Even today Hindus celebrate the festival of Diwali by lighting lamps to mark the day. Rama is crowned the king of Ayodhya.
Rama leaves Sita
. Rama once overhears a washerman saying that had he been Rama, he won't have accepted Sita back after staying at a stranger's home and it saddens him. Putting 'dharma' or duty towards his people above all, Rama couldn't keep even one of his men unhappy. So he abandons his pregnant wife Sita to the forest where she gives birth to their sons Lov and Kush in Valmiki's Ashram.
Rama performs Ashwamedha Yagya
. Having ruled for years, Rama now performs ' Ashwamedha Yagya' to prove his superiority over others and vows to fight anyone who stops the horse of the Yagya set free to wander anywhere. The horse reaches the forest and Lov and Kush capture the horse not knowing that they would be challenging their own father for a battle by this act.
Rama meets his sons Lov and Kusha
. The boys fight bravely and at the end when Rama himself comes to fight them, he learns that they are his own sons. Once again the family is reunited but as Sita is again asked to give 'agni pareeksha' by Rama, she asks her mother earth to take her back. Rama is saddened and returns to Ayodhya with his sons.