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The Rama Story

The Rama Avatar is the first of the three great Avatars. Thousands of years ago, the Lord took birth in Ayodhya as the eldest son of Emperor Dasaratha, choosing the Emperor’s senior-most wife Kausalya as His mother. Aspects of Him were born as His brothers (Lakshmana, Bharata, and Shatrugana) to the other two wives of Dasaratha.

Rama and Lakshmana protect Vishwamitras YagnaWhen the Princes were in their teens, Dasaratha sent Rama and Lakshmana along with Sage Viswamitra to the forest, to guard from demons the sacred rituals then being performed by the Sage. Later in the court of Emperor Janaka, Rama lifted the mighty bow of Siva, winning thereby the hand of Sita, the foster daughter of Janaka. Along with the wedding of Rama and Sita, the marriages of the other Princes were also celebrated.

Years later, Dasaratha decided to step down and crown Rama as the Emperor. But just hours before the auspicious ceremony, Kaikeyi the third wife of Dasaratha cashed an old promise given to her, and made Dasaratha banish Rama to the forest for fourteen years, while her own son Bharata was nominated to the throne.

Bharatha the surprise beneficiary was unaware of the scheming of his mother, as he was then in his grandfather’s kingdom. Rama happily obeyed His father, and at once left for the forest, with Sita and Lakshmana accompanying Him.

Rama weds SitaUnable to bear the separation from Rama, Dasaratha breathed his last and Bharatha was immediately sent for. He hastened back to learn that his father had died of grief and that his dear Brother had been banished to the forest, all for his sake! Bharatha refused to ascend the throne, rushed to the forest, and pleaded with Rama to return and rule. But Rama was firm in standing by His word given to His father and step-mother. Bharatha returned disappointed, donned the garb of a hermit, lived in a village, and administered the kingdom on behalf of Rama, symbolically deriving authority from the sandals of Rama, reverentially placed on the throne.

After Bharatha’s departure, Rama, along with Sita and Lakshmana withdrew deep into the forest. There one day, Sita was abducted by Ravana, the evil ruler of Lanka, even as Rama was engaged in capturing for Sita, a golden deer.

Rama and Lakshmana then began their long arduous search for Sita. In the process, they befriended Sugriva, the Vanara (monkey) leader. Hanuman, a minister of Sugriva, became a great devotee of Rama. Sugriva offered help in the search for Sita. As a part of the process, Hanuman jumped across the ocean to the island of Lanka, and there located Sita held captive by Ravana in a garden.

Crossing the Ganges on Guhas boatRama then invaded Lanka along with the Vanara warriors, building a bridge across the ocean for the purpose of crossing it. A lengthy battle ensued at the end of which all the evil doers perished, including Ravana, who was slain by Rama. Sita was rescued, and Rama, Lakhsmana and Sita triumphantly returned to the mainland, flying in the very same aerial chariot of Ravana in which Sita was earlier carried away. After reunion with Bharata who was counting the days, the entire party entered Ayodhya, much to the joy of the people.

The exile having been duly completed, on an auspicious day Rama was duly crowned, a ceremony that had to wait for fourteen years because the Avatar had a promise to keep. Rama ruled righteously for several years. His reign is symbolic of peace, prosperity and justice, and even today is held up as a model for governance.

Rama was God Incarnate, but He never proclaimed His Divinity. In every respect, His life was an emphatic message of how one ought to live, always adhering to Sathya and Dharma. Rama was an ideal son, an ideal brother, an ideal friend, an ideal master, and an ideal King.

The Rama Avatar proves that the one who protects Dharma and stands by it, will himself be protected by that very same Dharma.

The accompanying paintings have been done in the traditional Karnataka style.

Bharata gets the Padukas of Rama Sita wants the golden deer Building the bridge across the ocean
Rama vanquishes Ravana the king of demons The coronation of Rama after the great victory  


Volume - 2 Issue - 6 Radiosai Journal - PSN 2004