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Lord Rama - SaranathanLord Rama, the most famous incarnation of God, appeared on Rama-navami (Chaitra 9). He is known as Maryada Purusottama and is the emblem righteousness. His life and teachings of morality in office are as relevant for us today as when He appeared in unknown times in the past.

"The emperor [Dasaratha] held his four mighty sons, who had issued from his body, as dear as his own arms. Of the four, Lord Rama was the king's most beloved son, and like a Brahma He excelled all others in virtue. Indeed, He was the eternal Lord Sri Vishnu, and had advented Himself in the world of men on behalf of the Devas, who desired the slaying of Ravana." "He was a son unequalled in the world, and resembled Dasaratha in the possession of good qualities. He never spoke an untruth, He offered all respect to the learned and the elderly; the people adored Him, and He loved the people. His transcendental body was free from disease and the influence of old age. He was eloquent, beautiful, and adaptable to circumstances. He knew the heart of every man on earth [being omniscient], and He alone was aloof from the world of matter. He alone was possessed of all conceivable qualities who was the king's son, and was as dear to the people as their own hearts." "He was loved by His father's subjects, and ever increased His sire's delight. Lord Rama was endowed with dazzling transcendental qualities, and He was haloed as if by the rays of the sun. The earth personified adored Him who was possessed of such virtues, who was unconquerable, who was courageous, and who was the unequalled Lord of all."

The Avathar

The Ramayana speaks of how the Goddess Earth, Bhumidevi, came to the Lord Creator,Brahma begging to be rescued from evil kings who were plundering her resources and destroying life through bloody wars and evil conduct. The Devas also came to Brahma fearful of the rule of Ravana, the ten-headed rakshasa emperor of Lanka. Ravana had overpowered the Devas and now ruled the heavens, the earth and the netherworlds. Although a powerful and noble monarch, he was also arrogant, destructive and a patron of evil doers. He had boons that gave him immense strength and was invulnerable to all living and celestial beings, except man and animals. Brahma, Bhumidevi and the Devas worshipped Vishnu, the Preserver, for deliverance from Ravana's tyrannical rule. Vishnu promised to kill Ravana by incarnating as a manHis eternal consort, Lord Rama - SaranathanLakshmi took birth asJanakaof Mithila while he was ploughingLord Rama - SaranathanLord Rama - Saranathanhave incarnated as Lakshmana to stay at his Lord's side on earth. Throughout his life, no one, except himself and a few select sages (among which are includedVasishta, Sharabhanga, Agastya and Viswamitra) know of his destiny. Rama is continually revered by the many sages he encounters through his life, but only the most learned and exalted know of his true identity. At the end of the war between Rama and Ravana, just as Sita passes her Agni pariskha, Lord Brahma, Indra and the Devas, the celestial sages and Lord Shiva appear out of the sky. They affirm Sita's purity and ask him to end this terrible test. Thanking the Avatara for delivering the universe from the grips of evil, they reveal Rama's divine identity upon the culmination of his mission. - the eldest son of Kosala's king Dasaratha. Sita and was found by king a field. Vishnu's eternal companion, theAnantha Sesha is said to

Prince of Ayodhya

King Dasaratha performs a putrakami yajna, a sacrifice to obtain offspring by pleasing the Gods. He gives the sacred, sacrificial nectar to his three wives accordingLord Rama - Saranathan to their seniority: Kousalya, Sumitra and Kaikeyi.On the night of the ninth day after Amavasya, under theasterism of Punarvasu and the cardinal sign of the Crab, Rama was born in the city of Ayodhya, which is the capital of the ancient kingdom of Kosala . The city and the area are located in the central region of the modern state ofUttar Praddesh in India. Rama was the prince of the Suryavamsha (Sun Dynasty)Lord Rama - Saranathan House of Ishvaku descendant of great monarchs like Ishvaku, Raghu and Bhaaratha son of Kaikeyi and the twin sons of Sumitra, Lakshmana and Shatruguna. Rama is dark-complexioned, mainly bluish - a symbol of divinity . Bhagiratha. He is the eldest brother to The Ramayana describes the relationship between the brothers as intensely loving and devotional, although Rama and Lakshmana share a special, inseparable bond, while Bharata is especially close to Shatrughna. The four brothers enjoy an undiscriminating love from Dasaratha and his three queens, but Dasaratha's main affections are affixed upon Rama. Rama and his brothers are trained by Rishi Vasishta in the Vedas, religion, philosophy and the sciences. They are described as taller than the tallest men of modern times, possessive of exceptional acumen and prowess in the military sciences and arts.

Initiation of the Avatara

Rama breaking the bow, Raja Ravi Varma (1848-1906)
Rama breaking the bow,
Sage Vishwamitra takes the two princes, Rama and Lakshmana, to the SwayamvaraShiva, and shoot an arrow with it. This task is considered impossible for any ordinary king or living being, as this is the personal weapon of Shiva, more powerful, holy and of divine creation than conceivable. While attempting to string the bow, Rama breaks it into two. This feat of unbelievable strength, to have broken the bow of Shiva, spreads his fame across the ceremony for Sita. The challenge is to string the bow of worlds and seals his marriage to Sita. After Rama weds Sita and the entire royal family and the Ayodhya army begin theirLord Rama - SaranathanParashurama Bhargava appears before them, having descended from his mountainous hermitage. Parashurama is an extremely powerful rishi, responsible for killing all of the world's warriors and kings 21 times. He was the sixth Avatara of Vishnu, and finds it unbelievable that anybody could break the bow of Shiva. Considering himself to still be the most powerful warrior-rishi on earth, he brings with them the bow of Vishnu, and intends to challenge Rama to prove his strength by stringing it, and then fighting a battle with him to prove superiority. Tapasya to him, pays homage to Rama and promises to return to his hermitage and leave the world of men. journey back, the great rishi Although the entire Ayodhya army is forestalled by his mystical power, Rama is himself angered. He respectfully bows to Parashurama, and within a twinkling of an eyelid snatches the bow of Vishnu, strings it, places an arrow and points it straight at the challenger's heart. Rama asks Parashurama what he will give as a target to the arrow in return for his life? At this point, Parashurama feels himself devoid of the tremendous mystical energy he possessed for so long. He realizes that Rama is Vishnu incarnate, his successor and definitely his superior. He accepts Rama's superiority, devotes his Rama then fired the arrow up into the sky with Vishnu's bow, performing a feat true to his Supreme, divine nature with his natural weapon. His overpowering of Parashurama and using the supreme weapon with incredible ease and perfectionLord Rama - Saranathan Vasishta associate this with his true identity. It is said that the Rama's arrow is still flying across space, across time and across all of the universe. The day it will return to earth, it is said, it will bring the end of the world. Others say that the flying arrow destroys all evil on earth to uphold dharma and righteousness. dazzle the spectators and his relatives, but no one save Parashurama and

Another version

Another version of the story is, that SageVisvamitra along with Prince Rama andLord Rama - Saranathan Lakshmana attended the Swayamvara of Princess Sita. To find the best match for his daughter Sita, King Janaka held a test in which the successful contestant was able to lift the bow of Lord Shiva and string it, would be able to wed Sita. However, none of the Kings were able to achieve this task, and disappointed, King Janaka pours out his dilemma and misery. Upon hearing this Lakshmana is enraged and offended that King Janaka did not offer Rama the same test. Upon the invitation of King Janaka, Lord Rama proceeded to the bow of Lord Shiva. Paying reverence to the bow, Rama was able lift the bow, string it and in the same process broke the bow in two. This event sent a loud thundering sound throughout the whole planet and the noise reached the ears of Parasurama who was at that time meditating and knew that the sound made was the bow of Lord Shiva's being broken. When Parasurama arrived at the court of King Janaka, he confronted the prince and issued a challenge. This led to a confrontation between Lakshmana and Parusurama, who's rage was increasing at Lakshmana's impetuous backtalk. However, Lord Rama without any physical confrontation was able to pacify Parasurama. After calming down Parasurama realised that Rama was Lord Vishnu Incarnate and granted Lord Rama all the weapons he had obtained from his tapas.

Dharma of exile

King Dasaratha announces to Ayodhya that he plans to crown Rama, his eldest child the Yuvaraja (crown prince). While the news is welcomed by everyone in the kingdom, the mind of queen Kaikeyi is poisoned by her wicked maid-servant, Manthara. Kaikeyi, who is initially pleased for Rama, is made to fear for the safety and future of her son Bharata. Fearing that Rama would ignore or possibly victimize his youngest brother for the sake of power, Kaikeyi demands that Dasaratha banish Rama to a forest exile for fourteen years, and that Bharata be crowned in Rama's place. She had been granted two boons by the king when she had saved his life a long time ago, and the queen now used them to serve her purpose. The king's court and the people are outraged at this turn of events. Dasaratha loved and cherished Rama dearly, and was in personal turmoil. Completely estranged now from his younger wife, he abhors the prospect of separation from Rama. But Rama realizes that the king must not break a solemn promise at any time, and neither should a son disobey his father's command. Sita joins her husband in exile despite his discouraging her, as it is her duty and out of love for Rama that she must be at his side at all times. His younger brotherLord Rama - Saranathan Lakshmana also immediately decides to join Rama rather than remain in the city. As he leaves for exile, the people of Ayodhya are deeply saddened and angered at Dasaratha and Kaikeyi. Dasaratha's heart is broken and he collapses and dies by the next day, unable to bear the agony of separation from Rama. Despite the reasoning of Vasishtha and the pleas of his brothers, Rama refuses to return. Although horrified at the news of his father's death, Rama finds it impossible that he should break his dead father's word. Rama does not bear any anger towards Kaikeyi, believing firmly in the power of destiny. According to the explanation of the classic, this exile actually presents Rama the opportunity to confront Ravana and his evil empire.

Rama and Sita

A modern depiction of Sita and Rama
Rama and Sita are the protagonists in one of the most famous love stories of all time. Described as being deeply in love, Sita and Rama are theologically understood asavatars of Lakshmi and Vishnu respectively. When Rama is banished from the kingdom, he attempts to convince Sita not to join him in a potentially dangerous and certainly arduous existence in the jungle, but Sita rejects this. When Rama orders her in his capacity as husband, Sita rejects it, asserting that it was an essential duty of a wife to be at her husband's side come good or ill. Rama in turn is assiduouslyLord Rama - Saranathan protective and caring for Sita throughout the exile. When Sita is kidnapped by Ravana, both Sita and Rama undergo great personal hardships during their separation. Sita protects her chastity assiduously, and survives over a year in captivity on the strength of her love and attention to religious values and duty. She is completely unfettered in her resolve despite Ravana's courting, cajoling and threats. Meanwhile Lord Rama - SaranathanRama, not knowing who had kidnapped Sita or where was she taken, often succumbs to despair and tears, denouncing himself for failing to defend her and agonizing over her safety and pain. Sita knows that it is in Rama's destiny to fight to rescue her (she refuses to be rescued thus by Hanuman who discovers her), but is deeply anxious for his safety and fearful of Ravana's power.

Agni pariksha

Lord Rama - SaranathanAfter Rama slays Ravana and wins the war, Sita wants to come before him in the state which over a year's imprisonment had reduced her to, Rama arranges for Sita to be bathed and given beautiful garments before they are re-united. But even as Sita comes before him in great excitement and happiness, Rama does not look at her, staring fixedly at the ground. He tells her that he had fought the war only to avenge the dishonour that Ravana had inflicted on Rama, and now Sita was free to go where she pleased. At this sudden turn of events, all the vanaras, rakshasas, Sugriva, Hanuman and Lakshmana are deeply shocked.
A devastated Sita, shaking with grief and humiliation, begs Lakshmana to build her a pyre upon which she could end her life, as she could not live without Rama. At this point, Lakshmana is angered at Rama for the first time in his life, but following Rama's nod, he builds a pyre for Sita. At the great shock and sorrow of the watchers, Sita walks into the flames. But to their greater shock and wonder, she is completely unharmed. Instead, she glows radiantly from the centre of the pyre. Immediately Rama runs to Sita and embraces her. He had never doubted her purity for a second, but, as he explains to a dazzled Sita, the people of the world would not have accepted or honoured her as a queen or a woman if she had not passed this Agni parikshaAgni would destroy the impure and sinful, but not touch the pure and innocent.

Sita's banishment

In the Uttara Kanda, Rama banishes his wife Sita, even as she is pregnant, asking Lakshmana to deliver her safely to Rishi Valmiki's ashram. He does so when it is reported to him that some subjects of his in Ayodhya believe that Sita is unchaste due to her long captivity in Ravana's city. The Agni pariksha fails to convince these few critics, but Rama, by his understanding of thedharma of a king, decides to banish Sita. Rama adhered strictly to his duty both as a king and a husband. These conflicted when society thought that Sita was unfit to become queen. But Rama had to send away Sita since his duty of king came first. Sita herself told him to send her away since she perfectly understood the situation and knew Rama's dilemma. A legend by RishiAgastya in the epic states thatVishnu in a previous age had been cursed by a rishi, whose wife had been killed by Vishnu for sheltering his enemies escaping from battle. The Rishi condemns Vishnu to be denied for a long age, the companionship of his soul mate, just as Vishnu, by an inadvertent display of anger, had deprived the rishi of his loving wife. Thus Rama, Vishnu's incarnation, must live the rest of his life without Sita.

Maryada Purushottama

As a person, Rama personifies the characteristics of an ideal person (purushottama) who is to be emulated. He had within him all the desirable virtues that any individual would seek to aspire, and he fulfils all his moral obligations (maryada). Rama's purity and piety in his intentions and actions inspires affection and devotion for him from a variety of characters from different backgrounds. For example, he gave up his rightful claim to the throne, and agreed to go into exile for fourteen years, to fulfill the vow that his father had given to Kaikeyi, one of King Dashratha's wives. This is in spite of the fact that Kaikeyi's son, Bharat, begged him to return back to Ayodhya and said that he did not want to rule in place of Rama. But Rama considered his dharma as a son above that of his own birthright and his life's ambition. For such supreme sacrifices, and many other qualities, Shri Rama is considered a maryada purushottam. Some of his ideal are as follows: 1. At the time when it was normal for kings to have more than one wife, Rama gave ideal of having a single wife. AfterSita was banished, he was doing penance with a gold statue of Sita. In Balakanda of Valmiki Ramayana it is written that Rama and Sita resided in each others heart. 2. Rama always followed his promise at any cost. Infact, he went to forest to make his father's promise to Kaikeyi true. There are many examples of Rama's promises which he kept. Most important are the promise to sages to save their lives from rakshasas, getting back Sugrivas Kingodm making Lord Rama - SaranathanVibishana the king of Lanka. 3. Excellent friend: Rama had very touching relations with his friends irrespective of their status. Some of his friends are Nishad-raj Guh, King ofNishaads (a caste whose profession was hunting the birds), Sugreeva (the Vanar king) and Vibishana a Rakshasa.Lord Rama - Saranathan

Rama and non-violence

Rama is always shown with a bow (called Kodanda) on his shoulder. As per Valmiki Ramayana, Sita once enquired as to why her Lord, Rama always carried a bow with him. Sita was upset with Rama's promise to sages that he offer protection while they performed their sacrificial rituals and therefore petitioned Rama that 'We are in the forest and we should live life of sages so why wield this weapon?'. Sita then narrated a story about an ancient sage who became violent simply by having a weapon in his possession (in this case a sword). Rama smiled and promised to Sita that he would never attack anybody unless the other person provokes him to do so, a promise that he kept throughout his life. Infact he had always given two chances to his enemies Taadaka,Maarich, Vali and even Ravana. He even offered a peace treaty to Ravana before starting the war.Angada took his peace message to Ravana which was declined.

Companions

Even as Rama is the ideal conception of manhood, he is often aided and complemented in different situations by the characteristics by those who accompany him. They serve Rama devotedly, at great personal risk and sacrifice.

Bharata and Lakshmana

Absent when Rama is exiled, upon his return Bharata is appalled to learn of the events. And even though Kaikeyi had done all this for his benefit, Bharata is angered at the suggestion that he should take Ayodhya's throne. Denouncing his mother, Bharata proclaims to the city that he would go to the forest to fetch Rama back, and would serve out his term of exile himself. Although initially resentful and suspicious, the people of Ayodhya hail Bharata's selfless nature and courageous act. Despite his fervent pleas to return, Rama asserts that he must stay in the forest to keep his father's word. He orders Bharata to perform his duty as king of Ayodhya, especially important after Dasaratha's death, and orders Shatrughna to support and serve him. Returning saddened to the city, Bharata refuses to wear the crown or sit on the throne. Instead, he places the slippers of Rama that he had taken back with him on the throne, and rules Ayodhya assiduously keeping Rama's beliefs and values in mind. When Rama finally returns, Bharata runs personally to welcome him back. Bharata is hailed for his devotion to his elder brother and dharma, distinguished from Lakshmana as he is left on his own for fourteen years. But he unfailingly deniesLord Rama - Saranathan Vasishtha proclaims that no one had better learnt dharma than Bharata,and for this piety he forms an essential part of the conception of perfect manhood, of the Seventh Avatara of Vishnu. Shatrughna's role to Bharata is akin to that of Lakshmana to Rama. Believed to be one-quarter of Vishnu incarnated, or as the incarnation of his eternal companion,Ananta Sesha ,Lakshmana is always at Rama's side. Although unconstrained by Dasaratha's promise to Kaikeyi, Lakshmana resists Rama's arguments and accompanies him and Sita into the forest. During the years of exile, Lakshmana constantly serves Rama and Sita - building huts, standing guard and finding new routes. When Sita is kidnapped, Rama blazes with his divine power and in his immense rage, expresses the desire to destroy all creation. Lakshmana prays and pleads for Rama to calm himself, and despite the shock of the moment and the promise of travails to come, begin an arduous but systematic search for Sita. During times when the search is proving fruitless and Rama fears for Sita, and expresses despair in his grief and loneliness, Lakshmana encourages him, providing hope and solace. self-interest throughout this time, ruling the kingdom only in Rama's image. When Rama in his despair fears that Sugriva has forgotten his promise to help him trace Sita, Lakshmana goes to Kishkindha where he reminds the complacent monarch of his promise to help. But Lakshmana also threatens Sugriva with destruction with his own divine, personal power, unable to tolerate the scene where Sugriva is enjoying material and sensual pleasures while Rama suffers alone. In the war, Lakshmana is uniquely responsible for slayingIndrajit, the invincible son of Ravana who had humiliated Indra and the Devas, and outwitted the brothers and the Vanaras on several occasions. Rishi Agastya later points out that this victory was the turning point of the conflict. Rama is often overcome with emotion and deep affection for Lakshmana, acknowledging how important and crucial Lakshmana's love and support was for him. He also trusts Lakshmana to carry out difficult orders - Lakshmana was asked to take Sita to the ashrama of Valmiki, where she was to spend her exile. Lakshmana's deep love for Rama, his unconditional service and sacrifice, as well as qualities of practical judgment and clear-headedness make him Rama's superior in certain situations and perspectives. Lakshmana symbolizes a man's duty to his family, brothers and friends, and forms an essential part of the conception of ideal manhood, that Rama primarily embodies.

Jatayu, Hanuman and Vibheeshana

When Rama and Lakshmana begin the desperate search to discover where Sita had been taken. After traversing a distance in many directions, they come across the magical eagle Jatayu, who is dying. They discover from Jatayu that a rakshasa was flying away with a crying, struggling Sita towards the south. Jatayu had flown to the rescue of Sita, but owing to his age and the rakshasa's power, had been defeated. With this, Jatayu dies in Rama's arms. Rama is overcome with love and affection for the bird which sacrificed its own life for Sita, and the rage of his death returns to him in the climactic battle with Ravana.
A 17th century painting depicting Hanuman worshiping Lord Rama and his wife Sita. Lakshmana is also seen in this painting from Smithsonian Institute collection.
Rama's only allies in the struggle to find Sita are theVanaras of Kishkindha. Finding a terrifiedSugriva being hunted by his own brother, king Vali, Rama promises to kill Vali and free Sugriva of the terror and the unjust charge of plotting to murder Vali. The two swear everlasting friendship over sacred fire. Rama's natural piety and compassion, his sense of justice and duty, as well as his courage despite great personal suffering after Sita's kidnapping inspire devotion from the Vanaras and Sugriva, but especially Hanuman, Sugriva's minister. Devoted to Rama, Hanuman exerts himself greatly over the search for Sita. He is the first to discover that Sita was taken to Lanka, and volunteers to use his divine gifts in a dangerous reconnaissance of Lanka, where he is to verify Sita's presence. Hanuman hands Rama's ring to Sita, as a mark of Rama's love and his imminent intention of rescuing her. Though captured, he candidly delivers Rama's message to Ravana to immediately release Sita, and when his tail is burned, he flees and sets Lanka on fire. When Lakshmana is struck down and near death and Rama overcome with love and concern for his brother, Hanuman flies to the Himalayas on the urgent mission to fetch theLord Rama - Saranathansanjeevani medicinal herbs, bringing the entire mountain to Lanka so that no time is lost in saving Lakshmana.The Vanaras fight the rakshasas, completely devoted to Rama's cause. They angrily dismiss Ravana's efforts to create divisions by suggesting that Rama considered them, monkeys, as mere animals. At the end of the war, Rama worships Brahma, who restores life to the millions of fallen Vanaras. Before the onset of war, rakshasa prince Vibeeshana, Ravana's youngest brother comes to join Rama. Although he loves his brother and Lanka, he fails in repeated efforts to make Ravana follow religious values and return Sita. Vibheeshana believes that Ravana's arrogance and callousness will cause the destruction of Lanka, which is a gross violation of a king's duty, and that Ravana's actions have only propagated evil. Vibheeshana refuses to defend the evil of Ravana's ways and inspired by Rama's compassion and piety, leaves Lanka to join the Vanara Army.His knowledge of rakshasa ways and Ravana's mind help Rama and the Vanaras overcome black magic and mystical weapons. At the end of the war, Rama crowns Vibheeshana as the king of Lanka. Vibheeshana, and to a greater extent Hanuman, embody the perfect devotee in the wider conception of perfect manhood.

Rama in war

The epic story of Ramayana was adopted by several cultures across Asia. Shown here is a Thai historic artwork depicting the battle which took place between Rama and Ravana.
When Rama is sixteen years old, he and his brother Lakshmana are taken byVishwamitra to the forests, with the purpose of killing rakshasas who are wrecking the tapasya and sacrifices of brahmins. Rama and Lakshmana are taught the advanced military arts and given the knowledge of all celestial weapons by Vishwamitra. Rama proceeds to slay Thatakhi, a cursed demoness. When asked to slay theYaksha demon, Rama demurs, considering it sinful to kill a woman. But Vishwamitra explains that evil has no gender. The killing of Taraka liberates the yaksha soul who was cursed for a sin, and had to adopt a rakshasa's body. It restores the purity of the sacrifices of the brahmins who live nearby, and protects the animals who live in the forest, and travelers. The main purpose of Vishwamitra's exursion is to conduct his yagna without interruption from two evil demons, Maricha and Subahu. Rama and Lakshmana guard the sacrifice, and when the two demons appear, Rama shoots an arrow that carries Maricha across the lands and into the ocean, but does not kill him. Rama and his brother then proceed to kill Subahu and accompanying demons. Rama explains to Lakshmana that leaving Maricha alive was an act of compassion, but the others did not heed the point and chose to attack. During the forest exile, sages plead for protection and help against evil rakshasas who spoil their sacrifices and religious activities and terrorize them. Many rakshasas had even killed and eaten sages and innocent people. At Janasthana, Rama uses his exceptional prowess to single-handedly kill over fourteen thousand demon hordes led by the powerful Khara, who is a cousin of Ravana.

Varuna

Raja Ravi Varma Painting - 'Rama Conquers Varuna'
Faced with the dilemma of how to cross the ocean, Rama performs a penancedhyana for three days and three nights tobrahmastra, considered the most powerful weapon capable of destroying all creation, Varuna arises out of the oceans. He bows to Rama, explaining that he himself was at a loss to answer Rama's question. Begging him not to destroy the oceans with the missile, he suggests Rama re-direct the weapon at a demonic race that lives in the heart of the ocean. Rama's arrows destroys the demons, and establishes a purer, liberated environment there. Varuna promises that he would keep the oceans still for all of Rama's army to pass, and Nala constructs a bridge ( Rama's Bridge) across to Lanka. Rama justifies his angry assault on the oceans as he followed the correct process of petitioning and worshipping Varuna, but obtaining the result by force for the greater good. tapasya, fasting and meditating in perfect varuna the Lord of Oceans. The ocean does not respond, and Rama arises on the fourth morning, enraged by the God's arrogance. With his bow and arrow, he angrily begins attacking the oceans with celestial weapons - burning up the waters and killing its life and creatures. The Vanaras are dazzled and fearful at witnessing the enraged Rama demolish the oceans, and Lakshmana prays to calm Rama's mind. Just as Rama invokes the

Facing Ravana

Ravana, Hindu Demon King of Lanka
Rama asserts his dedication to dharma when he undertakes to offer Ravana a final chance to make peace, despite his heinous actions and patronage of evil, by immediately returning Sita and apologizing to both Rama and Sita, but Ravana refuses. In the war, Rama slays the most powerful rakshasa commanders, includingKumbhakarna along with hundreds of thousands of rakshasa soldiers. He outfights Ravana in their first battle, destroying his chariot and weapons, and severely injuring him, but due to this, he allows him to live and return to fight another day. But as a human being, Rama also proves vulnerable on occasion to his enemies. He is put to a deep sleep with Lakshmana by the nagapoosas of Indrajit, but they recover when Hanuman obtains the magical medicine according to Vibheesana's advice. Prahasta, Atikaya and with Ravana's brother, In the grand finale of the battle, Rama engages Ravana, who through the devastation of losing his sons, his brothers and friends and millions of his warriors, arouses his awesome and magical powers and makes full use of the boons of Siva and Brahma, and the magical knowledge of warfare possessed by the greatest of rakshasas. Rama and Ravana compete fiercely, inflicting severe injuries on one another with the most powerful weapons that could destroy the universe. After a long and arduous battle, Rama successfully decapitates Ravana's central head, but an ugly head, symbolic of all of Ravana's evil powers arises in its place. After another long battle, Rama decapitates it, only to find another growing in its place. This cycle continues, and as darkness approaches, Ravana's magical powers increase in force. Vibheeshana, seeing this then tells Rama something vital. Ravana had obtainedAgastya, Rama worships LordAditya the Sun, with the famousAditya Hridyam prayer and then invokes the most powerful weapon, theBrahmastra. Rama fires the great arrow that enters Ravana's chest/stomach and destroys the store of amrit, killing him finally. amrit, the nectar of immortality, from the gods. Though he could not consume it, he nevertheless stored a vessel of it in his stomach. This amrit was causing his heads to regenerate as soon as they were cut off. Upon the advice of Following Ravana's death, Rama is immediately compassionate. After investing Vibheeshana as the next king of Lanka, he asks the new king and the surviving rakshasas to properly cremate their dead king, who he acknowledges was a great being worthy of respect and admiration, despite his patronage of evil.

Rama Rajya

The end of the war coincides with the end of Rama's tenure of exile. Flying home on thePushpaka Vimanam Rama returns to a joyous Ayodhya. His mothers, brothers and the people joyously welcome him. Kaikeyi is repentant of her deeds, and Rama forgives her. The next day, Rama is invested as the King of Ayodhya, and Emperor of the World. Although he first asks Lakshmana to become the yuvaraja, upon the advice of Lakshmana he invests the position to Bharata, who has had fourteen years of experience as the ruler of Ayodhya. Rama performs the holy Ashwamdha sacrifice, purifying and establishing religion across earth. Beyond the Ramayana, the eleven thousand years of Rama's rule over the earth represent to millions of modern Indians a time and age when God as a man ruled the world. There was perfect justice and freedom, peace and prosperity. There are no natural disasters, diseases, ailments or ill-fortune of any nature for any living being. There are no sins committed in the world by any of his people. Always attentive and accessible to his people, Rama is worshipped and hailed by all - the very symbol ofmoksha, the ultimate goal and destination of all life, and the best example of perfect character and human conduct, inspiring human beings for countless succeeding ages. Rama like other Indian kings went undercover every night to hear the pleas of his subjects and have a common man's perspective of his rule. During Rama's tenure as King, the people apparently had no locks on their doors as they feared no burglaries or other such misfortunes.


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