Rama

English: Deities of Sri Sri Sita-Rama, Lakshma...
English: Deities of Sri Sri Sita-Rama, Lakshmana, Hanuman at Bhaktivedanta Manor temple, in Watford, England. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Rama is the hero of epic Ramayana. Ramayana which is revered in India is little more than a quarter of Mahabharata. It is different in style and content from Mahabharata which contains many interpolation. The style of Ramayana bears some kinship to that of classical Sanskrit poetry.

Ramayana is older than Mahabharata but major narrative portions of Mahabharata are appreciably older. Some scholars think that Mahabharata is older than Ramayana. Ramayana was composed by sage Valmiki who was contemporary of Rama.

The central scene of the poem is Ayodhya which was the capital of old kingdom of Kosala. It shows that it grew in a milieu which was to the East to that of Mahabharata which mostly happened to the East of Ganges. In fact the war of Mahabharata was fought in Kurukshetra and the capitals of both the antagonistic parties Kauravas and Pandavas were around modern day Delhi.

Dasaratha, the king of Kosala, had three wives which bore him 4 sons namely Rama, Bharata, Laksmana and Satrughna. Rama won the hand of Sita in a great archery contest which was contested at Videha and was organized by King Janaka.

When Dasaratha became old, he decided to hand over the reins of kingdom to Rama his eldest son. But one of his wives Kaikeyi, reminded him of a boon which he had granted her long back and demanded to be fulfilled in the banishment of Rama to jungles and installation of her son Bharata as the king.

Rama accompanied by Sita his wife and his younger brother Lakshamana dwelt as hermits in forests of Dandaka and destroyed many demons who harassed the ascetics and villagers. Ravana the lord of demons decided to avenge this and came to collect the alms in the guise of a Sadhu and abducted the Sita and flew her to his capital at Lanka where he kept her in a garden. He did not touched her or maligned her.

With the help of Hanumant and his army of Monkeys Rama located Sita and constructed a bridge over the across sea to Lanka. The Ravana and his kin were killed by Rama and Sita reunited with Rama.

They returned to Ayodhya after the completion of banishment period. Although Sita was treated with respect by her captor and had in no way yielded to his blandishments. But Rama put her to the test of chastity and she threw herself into a funeral pyre but the Agni refused to take her thus proving her innocence.

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