Ramayana’s story is based on the Life of Rama. Rama is a Son of Dasa Ratha who is the king of Ayodhya. Rama is the great god of India. He is also called the man of peace.
The India of long ago was divided into many small kingdoms, and in each kingdom, there were wonderful cities, with fortified walls and well-trained armies to guard them. The people in these ancient cities dressed in silks and jewels and rode in chariots, and all were happy and well cared for. One of these kingdoms was called Ayodhya, and it was ruled by a king called Dasa Ratha. He was a good king, much loved by his people and by his three wives. His only sorrow was that he had no children.
One day, when Dasa Ratha was out on a hunting expedition, he became separated from the rest of the party and spent the day roaming the forest with his bow and arrows without seeing a single animal. As evening approached he turned towards home, tired and dispirited.
At that moment he heard the sound of an animal lapping water on the other side of the small lake on whose banks he was walking. It was too dark to see across the lake but Dasa Ratha was a wonderful shot, and he prided himself that he could shoot blindfold at anything within range, and bring it down with a single row. So he raised his bow and let fly in the direction of the sound of the lapping deer.
To his horror, there was a cry of pain quite unlike that of any animal he had ever heard. With a dreadful feeling of foreboding, he ran around the lake and there as he had feared, found no wounded deer but a young boy with a hall-filled water pot beside him, and an arrow through his heart.
Quietly, Dasa Ratha pulled the arrow from the boy’s chest and did what he could to stop the flow of blood, but he realized that there was no hope. He bent over the dying child and caught his last words:
“Carry me back to my home, gasped the boy. ‘My old people are blind, and I am their only son and protector. I was fetching water for their evening meal. Take me to them or they will be wondering why I do not return.
Gently Dasa Ratha picked up the boy and carried him along a small path to which he pointed, but by the time he reached the little bamboo hut at the end of the path he had only a dead child to hand over to the blind old couple waiting for their evening meal.
Their grief was terrible to see. Dasa Ratha told them who he was and begged them to go with him so that he could look after them, but the old couple was holy people who had vowed to spend their lives in prayer and fasting in the forest. they would not go with him. He had to leave them with their sorrow and their dead child.
Just as he was turning to go the old man spoke:
“I am a holy man who has the power of prophecy, “he said. “And I tell you that for this day’s deed you too will die because of your son.
Dasa Ratha looked at him in astonishment.
“How can that be, since I have three wives but no children neither son’s daughter,” he said.
“You will die on account of your son the blind old sage repeated. “After many sacrifices, you will have a son who will bring you to your grave.”
And so saying he and his wife laid themselves down on the floor to face their own deaths together.
Dasa Ratha crept away, feeling intolerably sad and guilty: yet within him glowed a faint spark of joy. The old man had prophesied that he would have a son. After many sacrifices, the dream of his life would come true and he would look at his own child. What matter if later this same son brought about his death? It would still be worth it, if even for a few years he could watch a child of his own running through the palace gardens; playing with the peacocks, learning to shoot with his bow and arrow, and ride his horses. Ah, to know that his kingdom would pass into his son’s hands when he died, would be worth whatever death the gods could think up!
So he started arranging tremendous sacrifices. He collected the holiest men in his own and surrounding kingdoms, and together they prayed and gave presents to the gods for a year on end. At the end of the year, there was a gigantic sacrifice to round it all off. A huge fire was lighted and all the holy men and priests of the country were there to throw the costly spices and perfumes into it. At the height of the blaze, a gleaming figure suddenly appeared in the flames.
‘I am a messenger from the gods, “he announced. They are satisfied with your prayers and sacrifices and live sent me to give you this.
He beckoned to Dasa Ritha and placed in the king trembling land two flat, oblong biscuits.
“Give one of these to each of your two older wives,” he commanded, “and tell them both to break off a small piece and give it to the youngest to eat. Then your prayers, oh King, will be granted.”
So saying the messager disappeared in a cloud of smoke.
Dasa Ratha did as he was told, and in due time his two elder wives presented him with a son each, and the youngest, who had eaten the two broken bits of biscuit, had twins, both boys. Everyone was overjoyed, and for a while, all went well in the kingdom of Ayodhya. The four princes grew up strong and handsome, and as he had dreamed Dasa Ratha taught them to shoot and ride and saw to it that they learned the holy scriptures and laws, and how the kingdom was governed. He loved them all, and most especially he loved Rama, the eldest prince, for he proved himself not only gentle and strong, but the possessor of superhuman powers to kill demons and lift spells.
When the time came for them to marry, lovely highborn brides were found for the princes, and as the years rolled past Dasa Ratha forgot the curse that had been laid on him the long-ago evening in the forest clearing. But the years exhausted him, and one day he called his nobles to him. He told them that he wished to lay down the burdens of kingship and place Rama on the throne in his stead. The nobles agreed, and the people were delighted. Preparations were made for the greatest coronation of all time. The streets were swept and washed, banners and garlands fluttered in the marketplace, and colored lamps were hung from the trees as the great day approached people poured into the city and it buzzed with happiness.
But inside the palace, intrigue was at work. The second queen. Kaikeyi was standing at the window watching the scene when her old nurse joined her and started to pour the poison of envy into her ears. If Rama is king, what will happen to your son, Bharat, the nurse to your son, Bharat, the nurse asked. He will be banished, and you with him. And you with him. Act now, before it is too late!
Do you not remember how, long ago when you saved his life, the king promised you a wish which you have never claimed? Claim it now. Make your wish that Rama be banished and your son Bharat enthroned in his place.
At first, Kaikeyi would not listen but gradually the poison began to work. That evening when King Dasa Ratha sought her out, she was nowhere to be found. He searched for her in the palace gardens where peacock roamed and flowering trees were reflected in still pools; hurried, calling her name, through rooms furnished in ivory and gold; and found her at last, his lotus-eyed queen, lying in tears on the floor of the mourning chamber.
He tried to console her, but she would not answer his questions as to why she wept on this happiest of days. Ar last, in despair he promised, as he had promised once before, that he would receive anything that it was in his power to give.
Kaikeyi lifted her head triumphantly:
“Three and thirty gods are witness, ‘she cried. Then she made her terrible demand: Rama must be banished for fourteen years, and her son Bharat rule in his place.
Dasa Ratha pleaded and argued, but he could not move her. In those days it was a terrible crime to break a promise, especially one made by a king who must set an example when Dana Ratha found he could not save his son without breaking his promise, he fell to the floor in a swoon. All night he stayed there, insensible, and it was Rana who found him the next morning.
Even then the old king could only moan ‘Rama’ and it was Keikeyi who explained what had happened and told of the promises. Rama agreed at once that they must be kept, and he himself gives up his throne and live a life of exile in the forest. His people were aghast, but he turned his eyes from his tears and outstretched arms. Bharat, who was to take his place, was away in a neighboring kingdom and would take many weeks to return; but Rama would not even wait till that day. Now, while his purpose was strong, this very day, he declared, he would put aside his silks and jewels and become a poor and homeless wanderer.
Sita, his lovely wife, insisted on going with him, and his younger brother Lakshman too. Rama could not dissuade them. When the time came for him to leave, it turned out that the whole population had come to the same decision. He was his rightful king, and wherever he was there would be the kingdom. Rama was touched but refused to allow them to join his exile. He ordered the fastest of his chariots and with Sita and Lakshman drove away from the wailing crowds, from his mother and his brother, and the garlanded city which should have seen him crowned on that very day. For fourteen years he must carry this picture of it in his heart, for his eyes must not see it, nor his feet walk its well-loved streets.
He could not say goodbye to his father, for old Dasa Ratha was still half-crazed with grief. Soon afterward he died, fulfilling the prophecy of the old blind sage whole son he had killed so many years before.
The horses that Rama’s chariot was swift, but many of these people followed for miles, and many clung to it so that when darkness fell he was still surrounded by them. They camped by the side of the river and early next morning Rama roused Sita and Lakshman and the chariot driver, and silently they forded the river and drove away, leaving the people of Ayodhya to return in tears to their cheerless city. Beyond the river were thick forests in which they could lose themselves for fourteen years. Bravely, and on foot, the three exiles set their faces towards these forests of exile; forests which were to offer them many adventures, much pleasure, and great pain.
So there they were the three of them, Rama, and his brother Lakshman, and the soft-eyed Sita, his wife, dressed in skins and bark from the trees, living in bamboo huts and feeding on berries. Sometimes they sheltered with holy men who lived alone in the jungle, and one of these, a powerful sage called Ogostya, handed to Rama a quiver of inexhaustible arrows, and a sword made by the blacksmith of heaven. He also directed them to the banks of the Godavari River, and after months of wandering, they found themselves in a glade by this river and find it as beautiful as he had said to settle there.
Thankfully they set to work on what they hoped would be their final resting place, but alas this was not to be; for one day while out hunting the sister of Ravan, the demon king of Lanka, Rama, and fell in love with him.
This she-demon’s name was Sooponoku, and like all her kind she had the power of changing her shape to suit her. wishes. When she saw Rama, the site changed at once into the form of a beautiful woman and approached him. Using all her demon wiles she told him of her love and expressed a desire to marry him. Har simply punted at Stand wid he was already married and wished for no other wife.
This annoyed the demoness, but the noticed Labs standing nearby and saw that he was also exceedingly handed some so she turned her attention to him, and made him the same proposal. To her annoyance, Lakshman laughed at her suggestion. Turning herself back into her demon shape, she sprang at Sita and would have to her apart if Lakshman had not raised his sword and sliced off her nose.
At this, the she-demon let out a terrible roar which attracted the attention of the army of devils who had come to protect her. They rushed to her defense, and Rama ordered Lakshman to take Sita away to that she would not be frightened by these ugly enemies. Then he turned to face them alone.
It was a terrible battle. The demons uprooted trees and boulders and hurled them at Rama, but with the help of his magic bows, he slaughtered them in hundreds and the forest ran red with their blood. Finally, he killed the two demon generals, and only Sooponoku herself and one demon escaped to return to Lanka.
Lanka is the old name for Ceylon, an island off the southern tip of India. Ravan, its king, was a demon whom even the gods feared, so invincible was he, possessed of such magic powers. When he saw his sister’s plight and heard of the slaughter of his generals and his army, he roared like thunder. But his sister implored him not to do anything too rash. She described the havoc Rama had caused with his bow and arrows and suggested that it would be safer to trick him out of his life than to attack him in the open. Then she offered a plan.
So It Happened that a few days later Sitni sitting outside her little hut watching the birds and butterflies, and winding herself a garland of forest flowers, glanced up and saw on the edge of the glade a deer of purest gold. So beautiful and strange it looked, standing in a shaft of sunlight, its horns shining like sapphires, its gentle wistful eyes staring straight into hers, that she felt a longing to touch and fondle it. She rose and moved a few paces forward, but it danced off on golden hooves, only to stop and turn, and look longingly towards her again.
‘Rama,’ she called softly, then, ‘Rama,’ again; and when he came, swinging his ax and smiling at her flowers, she pointed at the deer.
‘I want it,’ she whispered.
Rama looked at the lovely creature in astonishment. He had never seen a deer that stood so proudly on glinting feet and stated so fearlessly from eyes of molten brass. He moved towards it and again the deer capered playfully away and stopped, turned its burnished neck, and rested its liquid gaze on Sita.
Again she said, ‘I want it, but more urgently this time. “Please get it for me, ‘she pleaded. Rama moved forward, and the deer retreated. When he ran and jumped, the deer leaped like a golden arrow ahead of him, beyond the circle of grass and into the forest. Rama turned to Call Lakshman and to tell him to guard Sita. Then he set off in pursuit of the deer.
Lakshman and Sita sat quietly waiting for Rama to return. The forest was very still as if it waited with them as if the leaves were afraid to whisper the dreadful secret they knew. Suddenly, out of the silence, they heard a cry of anguid. Sita’s heart stood still, for it Rama’s voice, a long way away, but still recognizable.
“Oh Lakshmana, the voice cried, come and help me 1 have fallen into the hands of a demon.”
Lakshman was immediately suspicious. The mighty Rama, who had slain a thousand demons, calling for his help? No, it was not possible! This was a trick, he told Sita, this was some wicked impostor imitating Rama’s voice to lure him away and leave her unprotected. But Sita was fearful for her beloved Rama, and she turned on poor Lakshman and accused him of cowardice. She went further; in her frantic worry, she accused him of wishing Rama dead so that he could marry her herself.
Lakshman was horrified at such an unjust accusation, and the only way to prove it wrong was to answer Rama’s cries for help. Very unwillingly he picked up his bow and arrows Then pulling an arrow from the quiver, he drew a line in the soft earth. He made Sita promise that whatever happened she would not cross beyond it while he was gone and with a heavy heart, he left her.
Lakshman of course had bee n right. The golden deer had been one of King Ravan’s demons in disguise. When Rama realized that he would never catch it, he decided that the best thing would be to wound it, so that he could carry it home for Sita to care for. Accordingly, he let loose an arrow and the deer fell but as it fell it changed in front of his horrified eyes into its demon shape. At the same time, it called out in a perfect imitation of his voice, and be understood at once the reason for this deception. Without further thought for the demon, he turned and raised back through the forest to Site
She had not left alone more than a minute after Lakshman had gone when out of the trees had stepped an old hermit. He held a begging bowl in his hands and humbly stretched it out towards her. He looked so holy, so gentle and fall, that Sita’s heart was touched and she searched the hut for what little she could find to give him. Then she stepped out of the door and across the line that Lakshman had drawn, to put her offerings into the hermit’s bowl.
No sooner had her foot touched the ground than she felt strong arms on her shoulders, the hermit’s arms, and yet no, this was no hermit. The kind old face was changing, becoming crafty and evil, the bent body was straightening, the arms that held her were arms of steel. She trembled at the voice that came from the cruel laughing lips.
‘I am Ravan, King of Lanka, Lord of the Three Worlds, it said, and you are a beautiful woman I wish to have as my wife. I shall carry you back to my kingdom beyond the sea. Come, my chariot is waiting.
‘Sita struggled and pleaded, let loose the full force of her anger, but she was helpless. When Rama and Laksliman entered the glade a few moments later, it was still and empty. The door of the little hut opened on to desolate silence, and it seemed that only the leaves were rustling sadly to each other and saying, “Sita is gone, Sita is gone.”
Sita had gone and through they called and searched through the forest they could not find her. Returning wearily and in despair to their hut, Rama suddenly noticed in the soft mud of the forest floor the huge footmarks of a demon, and beside them the little prints of Sita’s feet. His anger was terrible to see. He raised his sword and shook it at the sky. ‘Oh God in heaven,’ he thundered, “you have let my beloved Sita be stolen from toe by a demon. For this, I will destroy your world. Even the gods trembled at his voice.
But Lakshman spoke to him soothingly, telling him that he could not punish the whole world for the deed of a single demon. Gradually his anger subsided, and they set out to look for Sita once more. They wandered over hills and through forests and along streams, and at last on the top of a mountain they met the king of the monkey people, and his monkey – general, Hanuman. The king promised to help in the search, and summoning the people of his kingdom, he divided them into bands and sent them out to find news of Sita. He told them that in a month’s time they must return, whether they had found her or not.
The days went by, and the weeks, and band by band the monkey people drifted back, all with the same story: there was no trace of Sita. At last, only Hanuman and his group were left to return. They had been sent to the far south, and they had got lost. The jungle seemed to stretch forever but one day they woke to find it had ended, and instead there stretched before them a vast and sparkling sea. They had seen nothing like it before and they were at first puzzled, then distressed. Now they would never find their way back. The month was nearly up and they were hopelessly lost.
They looked at each other, and at the sea Then they turned and stared at the range of mountains behind them, searching for a landmark, for something they could recognize. There was nothing, but as they stared their eyes were held by the strangeness of the chest peak. It looked like … could it be … no surely not… but yes it was. It was an enormous bird testing on the highest spur of the tallest peak of the mountain range.
Fear dried their mouths and set their hearts beating. This bird was the size of two elephants, it could devour all of them in a couple of mouthfuls. Even as they watched, it started to flap its wings, but they noticed that for a bird of such a size the wings were very small and it made no move to fly. Then down the mountain slopes and across the valley, its thin voice came to them:
‘I am Hompoti, king of the birds, it wailed. ‘Do not be afraid of me, for I will not harm you. I cannot come down from this mountain for I flew too near the sun and burnt my wings. Approach and tell me who you are, and from where you have traveled!
Much cheered, Hanuman and his followers set off up the mountain to talk with this friendly and gigantic bird, in the hope that he could guide them home. When they had told him their mission, and of their failure to find Sita, wife of Rama, prince of Ayodhya, the bird became very excited.
“The gods punished me for flying too near the sun,” he said. “But they told me that if the day came when I could give to Rama’s friend’s news of his wife Sita, then my wings would grow again. A few weeks ago, I saw Ravan, King of Lanka, fly overhead in his chariot with a beautiful, wailing woman. I watched from this peak and saw them land on Lanka. woman was Sita, and if you are the friends of Rama, my wings will start to grow.”
They all turned anxious eyes to his shrivelled sides and sure enough, as they watched, new feathers began to sprout and to spread, until dead wings were like a great black cloud in front of the sun. With joy and thanks on both sides they said good – bye, Hompoti directing them back to their home before he sailed off on his beautiful buoyant feathers.
It did not take Hanuman and his follower’s lang to find their way back, and to guide Rama and Lakshman and the king of the monkey people to the seashore and to point across the water to Lanka where Sita was imprisoned: but how to cross the seat Luckily Hanuman was no ordinary monkey, but half-god, and he was able to make himself grow to any heigh he wished. Now, at Rama’s request, he made himself as tall as a mountain, and in one enormous jump cleared the sea and landed on Link. The earth trembled, and trees fall in the wind that used behind him.
Once in Lanka, Hanuman used his special powers again, moving, amongst the people in whatever disguise he chose so that they were not suspicious of him as a stranger. After a while, he discovered where lay the Asoka grove in which Sita was imprisoned, and made his way there.
At first, Sita was frightened and distrustful, but when he showed her a ring that Rama had given him for her, she wept for joy. Hanuman suggested that she climb onto his back and allow him to carry her back the way he had come; but Sita, as a loyal and modest wife, said she could go with no one but her husband. Hanuman understood this and begged only for some token by which Rama would recognize her. Sita gave him a pin from her hair, and they said goodbye, Hanuman promised that he would hurry back and bring Rama to her rescue as fast as he was able.
He did intend to keep his word; but as he started back towards the shore, his anger against Ravan became so great that he felt le must express it. How could he, quietly and without protest, leave the country in which Sita sat and suffered? In his rage, he started to pull up trees and hurl them to the ground, and at first, the crowd that gathered were amused at what they thought were the antics of a monkey then surprised at his strength finally alarmed at the damage he was doing in the beautiful grove of Asoka trees. They hurried away to fetch soldiers, but the arrows fired at Hanuman were answered with tree trunks and boulders, and the soldiers in their turn had to go for help, to Ravan himself.
Ravan was incensed to hear of the damage to his favorite forests and sent first one warrior and then another to fight with Hanuman. But each was filled by the monkey King, and Ravan’s anger grew daily. Finally, he sent his son, Indrajit, a warrior with many of his father’s magic powers.
The arrows from his bow were too much even for Hanuman, and he fell under them and was bound and carried back to the city, to be brought before King Ravan.
Hanuman made it as difficult as he could for his captors by stretching himself to the size of a tree. The door of the king’s council chamber had to be broken down to get him through, and Ravan was in no mood to be merciful by the time his prisoner was finally brought before him. But his brother, a kinder man, pleaded for Hanuman’s life. Ravan listened and decided on a compromise. He ordered that cloth be soaked in oil and wound round the monkey’s tail, and then be set alight.
After a great deal of trouble, sufficient cloth was collected and tied round the gigantic length of tail. Oil was poured over it and it was lighted. Then Hanuman was set free. How the people of Lanka laughed and pointed; and how their laughter died on their lips when he became his normal size again and dragging the great length of burning cloth be-hind him, leaped from rooftop to rooftop, setting every house in the city alight. Shrieks and moans joined the smoke and flames that rose from the burning city, and in the confusion, Hanuman escaped to the sea and jumped in.
His tail is still smoldered, however, and he finally returned to the Asoka grove to ask Sita’s advice. She told him to put it in Luis’s mouth which he did; and thought the fire went out, the inside of his mouth turned black, which is why all the monkey people have black roofs to their mouths to this day. Then saying goodbye to Sit once more, le promised that this time he would stat delay, but without a glance at the destruction he had, would return to Hima.
Which he did, and immediately plans were set afoot for the invasion of Lanka.
This, when they came to consider it, was not easy. There were hundreds and thousands of monkey soldiers, but how could they cross the sea and reach the battlefield? They did not possess Hanuman’s powers, nor could they swim. There was only one thing to be done. The gods of the ocean must be persuaded to help.
So prayers and sacrifices were offered and more prayers, and greater sacrifices. But as the days passed, and there was still no sign from the gods of the sea, Rama became angry at his indifference. Taking the bow of Indra in his hands he strode to the seashore and shook it at the smiling water.
“Oh gods, you have ignored our prayers and disdained our sacrifices,” he shouted. “Now I will destroy your oceans.”
At the sound of his voice, the surface of the water became agitated and up from the sea bed where they had been sleeping came the gods, to beg Rama’s forgiveness, and to ask him what it was he wished of them. When he finds ex-plained his problem, the gods told him he must build a dam across which the army could march, and they gave him Nole, the son of the blacksmith of heaven, to help him in this task. The monkey people worked with great energy and it was not long before they had collected enough boulders and tree trunks for the building to begin.
These preparations were bieng watched with great mis givings by Ravan and his spies in the mountain of Lanka. Hanuman’s escape had shown theme sort of enemy they must expect, and many people in the kingdom begged him to return Sita and to turn aside from her husband’s anger. Among these was Bibockon, Ravan’s brother, who had saved Hanuman’s life.
Although he was a Roksha, Bibockon was a wise man, and kindly, and he pleaded with Ravan long and earnestly to avoid the bloodshed that must follow a war with Rama. Ravan, still smarting under the insult of Hanuman’s escape, found his brother’s counsels more than he could bear. He turned on him in a rage and denouncing him as a traitor, banished him from the country. This was the biggest mistake he ever made, for Bihockon promptly joined sides with Rama, and proved himself the most valuable of allies.
The dam was ready. (You can see the remains of it today. ) Led by Rama, the armies of the monkey people prepared to cross but first Bibocion made Rama fix a mirror to the front of his shield. He explained that one of Ravan’s generals had only one eye. This eye remained the case for most of the time, but when it opened it hurt to ashes the object on which it fell. Ravan would surely use this magic to destroy the invading army: which was exactly what he tried to do. But when the eye turned on Rama at the head of his army, it saw only itself reflected in the mirror on his shield, and so it was the general who was reduced to ashes.
Grinding his teeth with rage. Ravan bad to watch the enemy cross the great dam unarmed, and he and this people of Linki trembled at the great shout they raised at the gates of his city: ‘Long live Ramal Long live Rama.” Sita heard it Too, in the forest of Asoka trees and fell on her knees to pray.
The demon forces and the monkey people fought long and bitterly. The Rokshas were led by Indrajit, Ravan’s Son, who rode to battle in a glittering chariot, his eight horses diamond-bitted. But in spite of his strength and his magic power, which enabled him to rise from the earth and rest on a cloud, Indrajit could not sway the tide of battle in his favor. His arrows showered down from above, but still, the monkey soldiers fought on, refusing to yield an inch.
At last, he decided to use his last, most terrible weapon, the Snake Dart. As soon as this was released from the bow, it changed into eighty – four million serpents with outspread hoods and flame-tipped tongues. Lashing themselves around Rama and Lakshman, they bound them to the earth and plunged their poison into the helpless bodies. The wails of the monkeys were heard in Lanka, where the streets were sprinkled with sandalwood water and spread with flowers to welcome back the invincible Indrajit.
It looked, indeed, as if the battle was over, for the monkeys would not fight on unless Rama was there to lead them. His still snake-locked body showed no signs of life, and if he was dead, his hopes died with him. But even as they howled their despair to heaven, the Wind God was blowing across the sea to an island where lived Garuda, the giant king of the birds.
Garuda had just feasted on a python and was basking in the sun when the Wind God’s message reached him. Without a moment’s delay, he spread his great wings and soared Into the sky. As he flipped his way to Lanka clouds scurried from his path in the sky, and all the reptiles on the earth slid into their holes, for Garuda swallowed every snake he saw. The minute his huge shadow fell on them, Indrajit serpents Loosened their hold on Rama and Lakshman and wriggled away to safety.
Garuda drifted down and softly stroked the two pale bodies with his wings, and at once strength flowed back into them, and they were freed of the snake venom. Rama and Lakshman sprang to their feet, the monkey peoples’ wails turned into cheers, and Ravan in his palace felt his heart
“Rama is dead,” he declared. “Then why do the monkey people shout for joy?
A messenger soon came back to tell him, and he raged with disappointment. One by one he sent his best generals into battle, and one by one they were defeated and killed. At last, the moment came when he must join his sagging forces himself.
‘Who is this who drives to the battlefield shining with the brightness of the sun? “Rama asked, and Bibockon replied:
That is my brother, Ravan, conqueror of the Three Worlds, with his son, Indrajit, like a dark cloud beside him. He drives in a chariot made by the great god Brahma. See how it shines with the brightness of a million jewels.
“Ravan in his dazzling chariot did not dismay Rama, however. He laughed aloud and prepared himself for the greatest battle he had yet been called on to fight. This was the moment he had been waiting for the moment to which all others had led. Ravan, Lord of Lanka, and Riana of the face of Raghu were now to work out their immortal destinies.
Ravan was indeed a magnificent night as he faced Rama from he littering various and his strength was the strength of twenty men. The mountains of Lanka echoed with the clang and crash of their weapons and the earth trembled beneath their feet. For a long time they fought as equal, and it was not until Rama drew out the most potent of his weapons, the bow given him by the sage Ogostya, and sent one of its deadly arrows straight into Ravan’s chest, that the mighty Rokesha king fell to his knees. He was not dead, but wounded, and forced to retreat to his palace. His wound soon healed, but his pride was most bitterly hurt. Brooding over his disgrace, he thought of his younger brother, Koombo carno.
Koombocarno was asleep as usual. He slept for six months, woke for a day, and then slept again; and the more he slept the more he grew. He was now 100 feet tall, and enormously strong, with feet to trample fifty monkeys at a step and an unquenchable appetite. Ravan knew the havoc he would cause amongst the army of the monkey king, so he sent men to waken him.
This was no easy task. Koombocarno was not due to wake for another month, and they could not go too close to him, or they would be sucked into his mouth with each indrawn breath, and shot out again a minute later with the force of a hurricane. They shouted, and danced up and down on his chest, and pulled at his flesh with tongs, but he merely grunted, turned over, and slept more deeply. It was only when they brought roasted deer and oxen and suspended them in front of his nose, that the greedy giant opened his eyes.
They gave him Ravan’s message and led him, still sleepy, to the battlefield. The monkey people saw him coming and stiffened with the right. Even Rama’s courage galled for a moment at this tremendous enemy but Bibockon was at hand to comfort him.
“This is our younger brother, Koombocarno he explained. “He was granted a boon from the gods to sleep for six months at a time, and then only to wake for a day. But
The gods warned him that should he be woken early, the spell would be broken and he would die. He was due to sleep for another month, so this, oh Rama, is the day of his untimely awakening, and you are the instrument of his downfall.
Rama was encouraged, but it soon became clear that the giant was going to cause a lot of trouble. The weapons hurled against him bounced off his chest and broke, and monkeys he did not trample underfoot he scooped up and stuffed into his cavernous mouth. Finally, he managed to capture the king of the monkey people himself and bore him away as a present for Ravan.
When they saw their king a captive, the monkeys howled their despair; but their king was not dead. He waited until Koombocarno’s attention wandered, and suddenly leap up and tore off the giant’s nose and cars. The cars were fifteen feet long and he escaped with one of them and carried it triumphantly back to the battlefield like a banner.
Not far behind him came the bleeding and infuriated giant, whose attacks on the monkeys were now so savage that Rama drew out each of his magic weapons in tum, and with each arrow supped the giant’s strength. Koombocarno did not give way until his legs were shot from under him. Then he fell with a crash that shook the walls of Lanka, and the royal palace, and the heart of Ravan within it.
So the battle raged on. Ravan’s generals were killed, and all is sans except his eldest Indrajit. Indrajit, the Invincible, who could escape to the cloud, and rain down his arrows onto their helpless heads low could he ever be defeated? There was a way, Bibockom told Rama. The gods had promised Indrajit that as long as he worshipped them with Sacrifices and prayers each morning, he would be safe from defeat. But on the day on which his morning ritual was interrupted and his offerings destroyed, that same day would see his death.
Rama at once sent Hanuman and some of the monkey soldiers to find out where Indrajit held his morning service, and while he was kneeling before the altar, Hanuman and the monkeys hurled branches from the trees, and then leaped down and spilled the sacred oil and Aung the sacrifices far into the forest.
Indrajit was angry, but he was also afraid, for he too remembered the prophecy. His anger carried him back into battle with Lakshman, but his confidence had gone, and soon his head rolled on the ground at Lakshman’s feet. Ravan heard the news with bitter sorrow but did not stay to lament his son. For the second time he dressed for war, and for the second time was driven back to his palace; but not before he had felled Lakshman with his demon spear.
It seemed that Laksliman must die, for the only medicine that could save him was the juice of a plant that grew on a range of mountains far away. If this was not brought by daybreak, said Rama’s physician, there was no hope for his young brother. Rama’s wits desolate. If Lakshman died, he did not think he would have the heart to continue the struggle, and then all his sacrifices, his bridging of the ocean, the blood they had poured over the battlefield, would have been in vain. Who could travel so far in a single night, and return with the magic plan?
Hanuman stepped forward he could. He spread himself to his full fight, and in one bound he was on the sea and on his way to the mountains. Ravan looked out of his palace window and saw the huge shadow pass, and at once guessed where he was going. He called one of his Rokshas, a magician who could assume any form he chose. Ravan told him to spirit himself away to the banks of a river in the mountains to which Hanuman was going. In this particular river, there lived a crocodile that fed on the humans who bathed there. The Roksha was to take the form of a holy man, and when Hanuman passed to offer him shelter and lead him to the river to bathe. The crocodile would do the rest.
So it happened that Hanuman, searching without success for the plant which would save Lakshman, came to a river on whose banks were a delightful hermitage, surrounded by flowers and fruit trees. In the garden sat a holy man, most wise and serene, with a long white beard and saffron robes. Hanuman approached him reverently and asked him if he knew where a certain gold stemmed creeper could be found. The hermit nodded and beckoned him to a seat.
“I can show you where to find this plant,” he declared, but rest himself first, and refresh your spirits with a bathe in this beautiful river, and your appetite with food from my garden. This is no ordinary water, nor are these fruits simply what you see. They have magic properties, which will give you the strength to climb the mountains and find the plants you seek.
‘Hanuman thanked the kind old man and agreed to rest for a short while, and summon his strength by a bath and food. He entered the waters of the river with a great splash that brought the crocodile scurrying across from the opposite bank. It was a huge beast, but no match for Hanuman. He leaped at it, and then on to the bank, dragging its body after him, There he ripped it open, and as he did so a bright figure emerged from the ugly body. It was a beautiful spirit, who told him that she had been imprisoned in the crocodile’s body as the result of having offended a holy man. Her last words before she flew up into heaven were, “Beware of the hermit who is no hermit. ‘Hanuman needed no further hint. When he reached the bank, he picked up the old man and hurled him across the sea and into Ravan’s palace. Then he continued with his search.
Ravan received the dead body of his Roksha magician with a great oath. How could he stop Hanuman from finding the magic plant and returning with it before daybreak? daybreak. If the sun could be persuaded to rise early, then Lakshman would be dead before Hanuman returned. Ravan immediately sent for the sun god and ordered him to mount his chariot and drive up the sunrise mountains and into the sky. The sun protested that it was not yet morning, but Ravan thundered at him until he was afraid, and agreed to do his bidding. Hanuman, to his dismay, saw the sky grow pink in the east, but with one bound he was on the mountain peak before the sun in his chariot could breast it.
“I am the Sun, let me pass, roared the god at the great ape. ‘Ravan has commanded me to rise, and I cannot save myself from his anger if I disobey him.
“I can tell you how to get the better of Ravan, ‘said Hanuman.’Come closer, and I will whisper my advice in your ear.
The sun stepped out of his chariot, and Hanuman caught him in one of his hairy arms and held him imprisoned to his side. So Ravan was thwarted again but still, there was no sign of the magic plans. At last, after other adventures, Hanuman became desperate. He could delay no longer, for Lakshman would surely die soon. There was nothing for it but to break off the mountain and carry it back in one piece, and let the physician find them for himself. He struggled and tore at the earth, and at last, the mountain cracked across. So, with the sun under one arm, and the mountain under the other, Hanuman returned like a hero to Lanka, and Laksh man was soon restored to life.
Ravan felt that the end was drawing near, but still, he tried every trick and every weapon in his demon armor. At last, the day came when he had no more sons and no more generals and no more magicians to send against the enemy. For the third time, he prepared himself for what he knew would be the last battle. And what a battle it was! Both armies withdrew to watch their mighty leaders in action. Javelin and discus and arrow flew backward and forwards like thunderbolts, but it was not until Hanuman stole the Death Dart from Ravan’s palace that the Roksha king knew the end had come. When he saw this fatal weapon in Rama’s hands he recognized it as the one the gods had foretold would till him. He fell, and as his body struck the earth, evil spirits all over the world shrieked and died with him.
So the story ends, with Site and Rama reunited, and Bibockon on the throne of Lanka. The three royal exiles returned to Ayodhya, for their fourteen years of exile were over. Bharat came to meet them, bearing Rama’s sandals on a royal elephant, and they entered a city gay with flowers and flags, exactly as it had been when they left it.
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What se learn from Ramayana Story
No matter what the situation, you should always practice your religion. You should always respect people and destroy injustice.