THE STORY OF RAMA
based on Rama: a Legend
1. Dasaratha - King of Ayodhya
2. Rama - King´s first-born son
3. Sita - Rama´s wife
4. Lakshmana - Rama´s brother
5. Kausalya - Rama´s mother
6. Kaikeyi - king´s second wife
7. King Janaka - 'father´ of Sita
8. Hanuman - leader of monkey tribe
9. Ravana - 10-headed King of Lanka
10. Garuda - great bird (eagle)
11. Sugriva - king of monkey people
Once, long ago, there was a city called Ayodhya, that was ruled by the great King Dasaratha. Dasaratha had two wives, Kausalya and Kaikeyi, and two sons, Rama and Lakshmana. The two brothers were Kausalya´s sons, and Rama was the oldest.
One day Rama was out in a field with some farmers. Rama found a hand, which he thought must be attached to a dead body. He started to uncover the rest of the body, and realized it was a dead beautiful woman. For some reason, she had not been cremated.
There was an eclipse on the sun right then. When Rama found the woman, the sun had disappeared completely. The Song of the Earth started playing, causing a feeling of spring.
All of a sudden, the so thought dead woman reached up and seized Rama. She pulled him to the ground, and he lay there, almost dead.
Rama was taken to a special chamber in the palace. Everything was quiet and still. Everybody was trying to heel him, but they could not revive him from his semi-coma.
Queen Kausalya begged the king to let her take care of him. She said, "I have the gift of love. Rama is the river that flows from me, so please, let me help him!"
Younger Queen Kaikeyi was jealous of Queen Kausalya. She started to leave the room, but King Dasaratha stopped her. He wanted to hear what Queen Kausalya had to say.
Queen Kausalya said, "There is magic in the faraway kingdom of Janaka. To get there you must travel past the Valley of the Moon, across the Burning River, by the Mountain that Spits Fire, through the land of Garuda, the eagle, and past the Evil Cave. Then you will be at the palace of King Janaka."
"How do you know all of this?" King Dasaratha asked.
Queen Kausalya answered, "My old maid, Kara, told me about this. She came from the kingdom of Janaka."
"But she has died a long time ago!" King Dasaratha replied.
"No, she didn´t," Queen Kausalya told him. "She really wanted to go back, so I set her free. All of this I heard from her when she was sadly remembering her old home."
"She was the one who told me about King Janaka´s daughter who has the power of life and death. Janaka´s daughter is the one who can save Rama!"
"And who is his daughter?" King Dasaratha asked. "What is her name?"
Queen Kausalya hesitated. She didn´t want to say her name. King Dasaratha demanded her name again.
"Her name....." Queen Kausalya stammered. "Her name........is....... is.......her name is.......SITA!!!"
Green light appeared in the chamber. Rama opened his eyes and sat up. "HELP!!!!!" he shouted, and fell back down. The green light left.
Soon the people in the palace of King Dasaratha started carrying Rama to the kingdom of Janaka. Rama felt winter around him, as though he was dead. But it was really spring time. All along the road are animals: monkeys, snails, lizards, bats, and all kinds of other creatures.
When Rama woke up, he found a hideous monster standing over him. It had purple skin and a tiger´s eyes.
All of a sudden, he was alive and healthy again, as though he had been reborn. He heard the grass growing and the flowers blooming.
When he looked up, he saw a beautiful woman. She quickly disappeared.
Rama asked his family, "Who was that gorgeous woman?"
His brother, Lakshmana, told him that there was no woman. Queen Kausalya, his mother, said, "It was just a sweet dream. Maybe it was your spirit wife.
Rama´s father, King Dasaratha, told him about the ferocious creature.
The entire family had a grand tour of the palace. Rama was so obsessed with the woman, so he didn´t pay attention to anything. He didn´t even notice the elephant fights that were going on.
That evening they were going to see King Janaka. There was a big celebration going on. Lots of music was playing.
Everyone bowed down to King Janaka when he entered. King Janaka was bald, and extremely short! He was dressed in rags, and holding a stem of wheat.
"Why, you´re just a dwarf!" King Dasaratha exclaimed. "How could this short bald man, dresses in rags, be a mighty king!" But then he realized that King Janaka´s feet did not touch the ground. He was floating!
King Janaka smiled and handed the wheat to Queen Kausalya. Instantly she became young and beautiful. Queen Kausalya was happy again.
"Welcome to my palace!" King Janaka said. "Here we live happily and peacefully. My only child is Sita. She is the daughter of Mother Earth. I found her while digging in a furrow in the garden. Would you like to meet her?"
King Dasaratha nodded.
"Sita! Come and see our visitors from the faraway kingdom of Dasaratha!" King Janaka shouted into the hallway.
Green mist came out of somewhere. A dark form appeared within it. Slowly, the figure stepped out of the mist. It was the beautiful woman that Rama had seen!
Rama was exited. He stepped forward and started to approach her, but King Janaka stopped him.
"Unfortunately," he said. "Sita cannot speak. She will be mute until she finds a husband worthy of her. Nobody has passed the 'test of the spirit´ yet, so she has no one. Only a person who passes the 'test of the spirit´ can marry Sita."
"Might we be able to try the test?" Rama asked.
"Sure," King Janaka said. "But let me tell you something first.
"Nobody has been able to pass the test yet. Because they don´t want to be ashamed when they go back home, they make up stories of hideous creatures they had to battle, ones that would be impossible to defeat. With their stories, they turned me into a monster, so everybody in different kingdoms are afraid of me. No one has come to try the test for a long time.
"So, now, are you ready to take the test?"
Rama and Lakshmana both answered, "Yes."
"Okay," King Janaka said to his servants, "Spread the news and bring in the Tiger Bow!"
Five hundred strong men came in, pulling a huge box. King Janaka pulled something out and laid it on the floor, but Rama could not see it. It was invisible!
"In order to pass the test, you have to pick up the Tiger Bow and string it," King Janaka told them.
Rama and Lakshmana stood there, staring at the blank spot on the floor. How could they pick up something that they could not see?
"I give up," Lakshmana announced.
King Janaka nodded. "Rama, do you also give up?"
Rama shook his head, "Not yet." He tried to think of a way to pick up the tiger bow, but he had no ideas. It would be impossible grab it, let alone string it. But he would still not give up this big opportunity.
Just then green mist came swirling into the room. It went over to the Tiger Bow and hung around it. Rama could see where the Tiger Bow was! He could tell where the green mist was not. It outlined the shape of the bow.
Rama dashed up to it, picked it up, and he held it high in the air. Everyone cheered. He put an invisible arrow up to it and shot it into the heavens.
"Excellent!" King Janaka cried. "Now you shall get to marry my daughter, Sita!"
The next week at the wedding, everybody in the kingdom of Janaka was gathered. Birds were singing, flowers were booming. It was a beautiful day.
Then Sita stepped forward. She saluted the sun, then walked up to Rama.
"Sita came to you with free will, Rama," King Janaka told him. "She finally gets to marry someone. But, unfortunately, she will lose all of her powers as soon as she is wed."
Rama slipped a ring on Sita´s finger. Then she lost all of her magic powers. She looked at Rama and asked, "Who is this man?"
Rama answered her, "I am your husband, Rama."
Flowers started raining down from the clouds. The moon went over and rested in the sun. That meant that the sun and the moon were wed.
Sita went back to Ayodhya with Rama and his family.
Queen Kausalya had mirrors banned from the palace, because she didn´t like seeing herself as an old woman. Now, since King Janaka made her young and beautiful again, she hung up mirrors all over the palace.
King Dasaratha saw his old age in the mirrors. He started to worry about his death. He thought, "I am very old and will probably die really soon. One of my sons shall have to take my place." Then he called for his two sons.
Rama and Lakshmana came obediently. "Sons," King Dasaratha said to them, "I love you both very much. Unfortunately, I fear that my death is near, for I have been having dreams of bad fortune. One of you will have to take my place as king, but I cannot decide who. Can you help me choose?"
"Rama should be the next king. He is most worthy. Also, Sita would make a great queen."
King Dasaratha turned to Rama and said, "Rama, it is your duty to be a wise and caring ruler. Treat all people with respect, and make smart choices. That is the key to leading of good kingdom. I´m sure everybody in Ayodhya will be happy with you as their ruler. Also, promise to keep this a secret. You will be crowned tomorrow."
"Yes, father," Rama said. "I promise, and I shall do my best to be a wise and kind ruler of our kingdom."
Meanwhile, Queen Kaikeyi started getting a strange, evil feeling. She didn´t like Rama and Sita very much, and she really hated Queen Kausalya.
Something evil started flying in the air. It was Queen Kaikeyi´s maid, Kooni. She told Queen Kaikeyi about Rama´s coronation.
Queen Kaikeyi decided to do something about it. She went to King Dasaratha´s room the next morning and knocked on the door. He was getting dressed, and didn´t want to be disturbed, but Queen Kaikeyi came in anyway.
"Remember the boon you promised me when we got married?" she asked casually. "One of them was that my son would become king when you passed on the throne."
King Dasaratha said, shocked, "But you have no son!"
Queen Kaikeyi told him, "This morning, I found out, I have become pregnant."
"How could that be?!" King Dasaratha exclaimed.
"Perhaps King Janaka did it with his magic," Queen Kaikeyi suggested.
"I suppose you are right. I´ll have to tell Rama. I hope that he won´t mind," King Dasaratha replied.
"But remember, you promised me two vows, not one," Queen Kaikeyi reminded King Dasaratha, smiling.
He was scared. What else would Kaikeyi do? "What vow was that?" he asked, frightened.
"That you would grant me any wish I wanted," the queen answered, slyly. "And I have decided what I want."
"What is that?" King Dasaratha asked, trembling.
"Rama might get angry and hurt my newborn child," Queen Kaikeyi told him, trying to sound worried. "I want him sent into exile for four seasons."
King Dasaratha was horrified. How could she do that to his son? "No. That shouldn´t be. How could this be happening to me? Isn´t there some other solution to this?" he asked Queen Kaikeyi.
"Sorry," she responded. "But Rama will only be gone for a year, you know. Plus, this way we´ll be sure my baby son is safe."
Dasaratha was very sad. He went to tell Rama about it.
Rama said, "Don´t worry. I´ll be okay and will return in just a year."
Everybody and everything was sad and started crying. Rama told them , "Do not cry for me. When in exile, I hope to discover the unexpected. That gate is the door to my destiny.
"Be courageous. Look beyond your ordinary world. Don´t fear adventure."
Queen Kausalya came out. "Don´t go! It´s your father´s fault. He made you leave!" she cried.
"Don´t blame him," Rama replied. "It was Queen Kaikeyi. I must do as my father says."
"Then let me go with you," she pleaded. "Or at least let Lakshmana go too."
Rama said to her, "Lakshmana may come. You need to stay and comfort my father."
Then Lakshmana came out. "I shall go with you to protect you," he said to Rama.
Sita walked up to Rama. He saw that she was dressed like a widow in mourning clothes. Rama asked her about it. She wanted to go too.
So Rama, Lakshmana, and Sita left Ayodhya.
After a while a couple of horsemen came. They gave Rama and Lakshmana the sad message that their father had died. "He was so sad and full of grief from your departure, that he finally passed away last night. Queen Kaikeyi seized the throne and power that he had possessed. She did this with the powerful ruler of Lanka, King Ravana.
"It is best that you stay here," Sita said to Rama and Lakshmana. They agreed, and decided to grieve for the four seasons they spent in exile.
When they had been walking for a long time, they entered the rain forest. Then they went to the Magic Mountain.
They heard a noise behind them and turned around. A great bird was standing behind them!
"I am Garuda, the great eagle," It said to them. "Your father sent me from the land of the dead to protect you."
Sita told Rama and Lakshmana that he was okay, not an enemy in disguise. So they continued on.
After the three had trudged on for quite a while, they came across the River of Dreams. It had small pools, quiet streams, and lotus flowers growing all over.
This was where Lakshmana built a hut for them to sleep in. Every-where that Rama looked, he saw Sita in the nature. He saw her in the water, the sky, the flowers, and in all the sounds.
The stillness was interrupted when Garuda announced that there was an intruder near by. Rama and Lakshmana went to see what it was.
It was a giant monster! When it saw Rama, it dropped its deer and ran back into the bushes.
A little while later a beautiful woman came into the clearing. She said to Rama, "I thought you were the god of love when I first saw you. My name is Soorpanaka."
Rama wanted to know where she came from. She said that she was the sister of Ravana, and that she wanted to marry Rama.
Then Soorpanaka caught sight of Sita. She rushed forward, trying to destroy Rama´s first wife. While doing this, she burst into flame.
Lakshmana dashed up and cut her ears and nose of. Soorpanaka turned back into the monster Rama had seen, and ran away.
Soon after that, an army of demons approached. Garuda again told Rama and Lakshmana about the intruders. Rama ran out with his bow to defend Sita and Lakshmana.
The commander of the demons was named Kara. He wanted to take Rama to his evil leader, Ravana.
Sita screamed. The yell awakened all of the forest animals. They all came to help Rama battle the demon warriors.
Rama fought the army sent by King Ravana. The arrows that they shot could not hurt Rama. He was like a mountain; everything bounced off instead of going into him.
Sita yelled again. This time Garuda came to help. He fought the demons with Rama.
Kara jumped up and sliced off Garuda´s wings. Garuda fell down to the ground and died. This made Rama very angry.
Rama was so angry he shot the entire army down. Kara tried to fight him by using "arrow serpents", but, like all of the other arrows, they could not harm Rama.
"Surrender, Kara," Rama demanded, "Sita is watching over me. You will never win." With that, he shot down Kara.
The sun and the moon came together again.
Rama and Sita relaxed in their little hut. Sita still was worrying that Soorpanaka would get Rama.
"Ravana is dreaming right now," Sita whispered. "Dream about what Ravana is doing."
Rama started dreaming about Ravana. In Ravana´s palace someone was sitting on the throne. It´s Ravana! Ravana was dreaming about Rama dreaming about Ravana that was having a dream about Rama, and so on.
Lots of other kings were bowing to King Ravana. There were many horrible things in there. Ravana had captured the god of fire and the god of death.
Just then, Ravana woke up. He asked some magicians, "I had a dream that there was a woman that would not adore me. Who is this woman and what does my dream mean?"
His magicians answered him, "It´s Sita, the wife of Rama!"
Ravana said to them, "Then kill Rama."
"How?" the magicians asked him.
"Send for Maricha. He will use his magic to lead Rama away from Sita," he responded. Then he started to laugh. His evil laughter echoed everywhere.
Instantly Rama woke up. He heard all that was said, but he only remembered that they were in great danger.
The next morning, Rama, Sita, and Lakshmana were sitting outside. A beautiful deer appeared. It shined with every color of the rainbow. The deer seemed to be a phantom creature.
Sita immediately fell in love with it. She wanted to capture it. Then she started chasing it.
Lakshmana called to her, "Stop chasing that deer! Certainly that could not be a real creature."
"How can something so beautiful be evil?" Sita asked him. Then she started to cry.
Rama said, "I will go after the deer for you, if you really like it that much."
The deer ran a little while, then stopped and looked back. Rama ran up to it. When Rama was just about to grab it, the deer dashed back a little further into the woods. It was tricking Rama to venture out even farther!
Finally Rama caught up to it. The beautiful deer could not run any more.
Then all of a sudden, the deer turned into a monster. Rama yelled in surprise. The creature tore at Rama´s shoulder.
Lakshmana and Sita heard Rama´s cry. Sita told Lakshmana, "Go after Rama and save him! He could be in big trouble!" Lakshmana ran after Rama.
Meanwhile, Rama shot the monster with an arrow. The creature fell down dead.
With both Rama and Lakshmana away, Ravana quickly ran up and captured Sita. He took her away to Lanka in his celestial chariot.
Rama and Lakshmana returned and found out that Sita was missing. They went out searching all over for her.
When they were looking, the two brothers came to the land of the volcano. It was time of the great rain The monsoon came gushing down upon them. Rama was melancholy in sadness. He felt that he could not live without Sita. Every where that he looked he saw Sita in the nature.
Finally the sun came out of the clouds. Lakshmana and Rama had come to the Valley of the Monkeys. Rama greeted the birds. He asked if they had seen Sita, but he could not understand them.
Then, after a little while, they entered scorched earth. It was the trail of Ravana. Everywhere that he touched turned into a wasteland.
Rama looked down at the ground and saw something shining. He picked it up, and saw that it was Sita´s bracelet! "Look, Lakshmana!" he shouted excitedly. "It´s a trail for us to follow!"
"Perhaps they are hiding down at that lake down there," Lakshmana suggested. Eagerly, they dashed down toward the lake in the legendary Valley of the Monkeys. They spotted a pair of yellow eyes watching them.
A white ape appeared. It called himself the "Great White monkey." The name of it was Hanuman.
Hanuman said to Rama and Lakshmana, "Ravana flew by with Sita in his celestial chariot. The swans flew up, hoping to rescue Sita. Then, unfortunately, Ravana burnt them with his flames and flew away. Then the swans fell down to the ground, dead.
"Sugriva, the king of the monkeys, will help you get Sita back."
The monkeys all met that evening. They arranged a search party for Sita. All of the monkeys divided into four groups. One group would search in the north, one would look in the west, one in the east, and the one with Hanuman in it would search in the south. Down south was where Sita was most likely to be.
The next day they all set out. A long time later, the monkeys from the north returned. Rama was excited "Sita was nowhere to be found in the north," the lead monkey said to Rama and Lakshmana.
Then the groups from the east and west came back. Both Rama and Lakshmana were hopeful, but the lead monkeys said, "Sorry. We could not find Sita anywhere."
Finally, Hanuman and his bunch returned. Rama and Lakshmana listened intently to what he had to say: "We searched all over, looking in every possible place. Sita was not in any of those places. After a long time of hard work trekking across the terrain, we reached a great body of water. Perhaps Sita is on the other side of this water."
"She probably is there, since she is nowhere else," Sugriva agreed. "Hanuman, take us to this water."
Rama, Lakshmana, and all the rest of the monkeys traveled over to the ocean that Hanuman had found. Then Rama asked the ocean some-thing. The ocean would not respond.
Rama got angry at it. He tried to destroy it with his arrow. The sea stood up and told him to stop. "Do not destroy me. All creatures need water to live, so I am the cradle of life."
"Did you see Sita?" Rama asked her.
"A demon king carried her across the water in his chariot," She told him.
A poor ragged bird came over to the army of monkeys to see what was going on. It´s name was Sampathy. Rama touched Sampathy, and she turned into a glorious bird again. She flew over the ocean to search for Sita.
"If you build a bridge, I will hold it up for you," the ocean said to the army of monkeys.
So the monkeys built a bridge and, just as she had said, the ocean helped hold it up. When the monkeys had been building for a long time, the bridge stretched all the way to Lanka.
Just then Sampathy returned. "I have found Sita!" she exclaimed.
"Now we are all ready to go and save Sita from the eternal winter!" Sugriva announced to the rest of the monkeys. "We´ll attack Ravana and get her back!"
So the large group of monkeys crossed the giant bridge. After a while, they saw destroyed land up ahead. It was called by some people the "kingdom of death."
"I must search for Sita alone," Rama said to everyone. Lakshmana and the monkeys went one direction, while Rama journeys elsewhere.
The whole city was ruined. All of the people were either dying, or dead.
Rama faced Ravana´s demon warriors. He let out a battle cry. The monkeys came to help fight the demons. The battle lasted for a very long time. When all of the demons were finally killed, Rama finally faced Ravana.
Lakshmana charged without thinking! Ravana took his sword and plunged it into Lakshmana, and stomped on him.
Rama and Hanuman were very sad. They wept for Lakshmana´s death. Also, Rama was extremely angry at Ravana.
Later that day Rama snuck into Ravana´s palace. He shot Ravana with one of his arrows. Ravana cried out, "Who would ever have thought that just a mortal could defeat such a powerful and evil person?" Then he died.
Ravana´s blood flowed over the ground and fertilized it. All kinds of plants started growing; grass, flowers, trees, bushes, and other things. The song of eternal renewal filled the air.
Sita and Rama returned to Ayodhya. Rama asked for Kaikeyi. She blew up when she heard that Ravana had died because she was his evil wife.
"Now let there be spring time in our kingdom," Rama announced to everyone of the land. "For Sita, the daughter of Mother Earth, has been freed from the eternal winter!"
Sita stepped toward Rama. "Here is a special gift," she said to him. She then dropped something into Rama´s hand. Rama looked at it. It was a seed.
That seed was the start of life.