Sri Rama - Story of Ramayana in a nutshell

Story of Ramayana in a nutshell

Story of Ramayana in a Nutshell

Canto I (Balakanda)

The sage Vālmīki put the following question direct to Narada, the heavenly sage, the foremost of those skilled in expression, who remains (ever) engaged in askesis and the study of the self (the study of the Vedas): — (1) "Who can possibly be full of virtues in this world at present? Who is possessed of prowess and knows what is right? Who is conscious of services done, truthful of speech and firm of resolve? (2) Who is possessed of right conduct and who is friendly to all living beings? Who is a man of knowledge? Nay, who is powerful and who has a singularly lovable appearance? (3) Who has subdued his self? Who has conquered anger? Who is endowed

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Story of Ramayana in a nutshell

with splendour and who is above faultfinding, and whom do the very gods dread when his wrath has been (apparently) provoked in battle? (4) I wish to hear about this and I am curious to know, as you are capable of knowing such a man. 0 eminent seer!" (5) Hearing this appeal of Vālmīki, the sage Nārada, who possessed knowledge of the three worlds, said, "Listen!" and greatly delighted, addressed the following words: — (6) "I shall (duly) consider and tell you (of such a hero). Be pleased to hear (from me) of the man endowed with the manifold and rare virtues that have been described by you." (7)"

There is one descended in the line of Ikswāku, and known by men by the name of Rāma. He has fully controlled his mind, is very powerful, radiant and resolute and has brought his senses under control."(8) He is intelligent, sagacious, eloquent, glorious and an exterminator of foes. He is distinguished with broad shoulders, powerful arms, a neck shaped as a conch and a stout chin. (9) He is marked with a broad chest, a mighty bow and a collarbone covered with flesh, and is capable of subduing his foes. His (unusually long) arms extend right up to his knees. He has a well formed head, a shapely forehead and a charming gait. (10) He is of medium stature (neither very tall nor very short), has well proportioned limbs, has a charming complexion, is mighty, has a rounded chest, large eyes, is endowed with splendour and has auspicious marks on his body. (11) He knows the secret of virtue, and is true to his promise and intent on the good of the people. He is illustrious, full of wisdom, pure in his dealings, a man of self control and concentrated mind. (12) He is a supporter of the creation like Brahmā (the lord of created beings), possessor of wealth, the slayer of his enemies, a protector of living beings and a staunch protector of righteousness. (13) He is a vindicator of his own virtue and the protector of his own people. He knows the truth of the Vedas and the (six) sciences (grammar etc.) auxiliary to them and is a master of archery. (14) He knows the real meaning of all the scriptures, is possessed of a sharp memory and quick wit. He is loved in all the worlds, pious, high minded and

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Story of Ramayana in a nutshell

Story of Ramayana in a nutshell
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Story of Ramayana in a nutshell

endowed with discrimination. (15) He is always sought by the righteous (even) as the ocean is by rivers. He is noble, alike to all and always wears a pleasing countenance. (16) He is endowed with all excellences and enhances the delight of (his mother) Kausalyā. He vies with the ocean in profundity and compares with the Himālaya in point of firmness. (17) He is a replica of Lord Visnu in prowess and is pleasing of aspect as the moon. In (show of) anger he resembles the destructive fire at the end of creation and is a counterpart of Mother Earth in forbearance. (18) He equals Kubera (the god of riches, the be  stower of wealth) in liberality and is another Dharma (the god of piety) as it were in point of truthfulness.

With intent to gratify the people the king (Emperor Dasaratha) lovingly sought to invest with the office of Regent his beloved son, Srī Rāma, who possessed unfailing prowess and was adorned with the above qualities, who was not only the eldest (of his four sons) but was also endowed with the highest virtues and devoted to the interests of the people. Witnessing the preparations in connection with the installation of Srī Rāma, the illustrious Queen Kaikeyī (the youngest of the three principal consorts of Emperor Dasaratha), who had been granted a boon (by the Emperor) on a former occasion (in recognition of her outstanding personal courage and service to her husband on the field of battle), however, asked of him (against the promised boon) the exile of Srī Rāma and the installation of Bharata (her own son). (19 22) Bound (as he was) by the tie of duty (in the form of his plighted word) due to his (ever) speaking the truth. King Dasaratha exiled his beloved son, Rāma. (23)

In obedience to his father's command, in the form of the boon (granted by him in favour of Kaikeyī) and with a view to pleasing Kaikeyī, the heroic Rama retired to the woods in order to implement the pledge. (24) His loving (younger) brother, Laksmana — who enhanced the delight of (his own mother) Sumitra (the younger of the two other principal consorts of Emperor Dasaratha) and who was not only endowed with modesty but a favourite of his brother (Srī Rāma) — followed his

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Story of Ramayana in a nutshell

brother out of affection as the latter set out (on his journey to the forest), thus testifying to his amicable relation. Sri Rāma's newly wedded spouse, Sītā, (so called because she was un  earthed from the track of a ploughshare) — who was dear to him as life and was ever friendly to him, who (though not born in the ordinary way from a mother's womb) was (taken as) descended in the line of Janaka (a king of Mithilā, Sīradhwaja by name, Janaka being his family title), was endowed with all auspicious marks (on her person) and was a (veritable) jewel among women and who looked like the Lord's own wonderful potency manifested by the Lord Himself — also accompanied Srī Rāma as Rohinī (the spouse of the moon god also a constellation of that name, follows the moon god). He was followed afar by the citizens (of Ayodhyā) as well as by his (aged) father, Dasaratha. (25-28)

Meeting his beloved Guha, the chief of the Nisādas (a mixed tribe sprung from a Brāhmana through a Sūdra woman), at Srrigaverapura on the bank of the Gahgā. Sri Rama (who was virtue incarnate), accompanied by Guha, Laksmana and Sīta, sent the charioteer back to Ayodhya. Going from forest to forest, and crossing rivers of deep water, they saw the sage Bharadwaja at Prayaga and, dismissing Guha there, later on reached Citrakuta according to the instructions of Bharadwaja and, erecting a lovely cottage, the three sojourned happily there sporting in the woods like gods and Gandharvas (celestial musicians). Sri Rama had proceeded to Citrakuta on foot (as reported by the charioteer, who had since returned to Ayodhya) and hearing this Emperor Dasaratha, stricken as he was with grief and be  wailing his son, forthwith left his body and ascended to heaven. Bharata, who was very powerful, though being urged to accept the throne by the Brahmanas headed by the sage Vasistha (the family priest and preceptor of the kings of Ayodhya), on the king having departed '(to the other world), did not covet the throne. He proceeded to the forest in order to please the venerable Rama (and persuade him to return to Ayodhya and accept his father's throne). (29 34) Approaching the high souled

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Story of Ramayana in a nutshell

Bharat comes away from Chitrakuta carrying Rama's sandals on his

head (Mewar )

Bharat installs the sandals at Nandigrama (Mewar )

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Story of Ramayana in a nutshell

Rāma of unfailing prowess, Bharata, rich in noble sentiments, actually implored (Srī Rāma) his (elder) brother (accordingly). (35) He addressed the following words to Srī Rama: — "You alone are the ruler, since you know right conduct." In deference to his father's decree, (conferring the throne of Ayodhyā on Bharata) Srī Rama, who was supremely magnanimous and enjoyed a very great renown and who (always) wore a gracious aspect, did not hanker for the kingdom. Handing over to Bharata his (own) pair of wooden sandals as his representative to rule over the kingdom, Srī Rāma, Bharata's elder brother who was possessed of great might persuaded him to return from Citrakuta after repeatedly importuning him. Without realizing his mind's desire (of seeing Rama back in Ayodhya and crowning him king), Bharata returned to Ayodhya, touching the feet of Srī Rāma (and taking leave of him). (35 38) Longing for the return of Srī Rāma, he ruled (over the kingdom while living) at Nandigrama (a lonely retreat fourteen miles from Ayodhya).

When Bharata, however, had left, the glorious Rāma of un  failing vow, who had conquered his senses and was intent on one object (that of implementing the pledge of his father), entered the Dandaka forest, they say, anticipating the renewed visit of the people of Ayodhyā to that region. (39-40) Entering the great forest (of Dandaka) and having dispatched the rakshasa Viradha, the lotus-eyed Rāma saw one after another the two sages Sarabhahga and Sutīksna as well as Agastya and his brother (Idhmavāhana). At the instance of Agastya himself he accepted with supreme delight a bow, a sword, a pair of quivers, containing an inexhaustible store of arrows, (all) be  stowed (upon the sage) by Indra. While the aforesaid Rama was sojourning in the forest with foresters, all the seers (dwelling in the forest) called (on him) with a request to make short work of the demons and rākshasas (haunting the forest). Srī Rama, glorious as fire, in the presence of those seers dwelling in the forest of Dandaka, then agreed to kill the rākshasas in that forest. The destruction of the rākshasas in an encounter was solemnly promised by Rama. (41- 45) The ogress, Sūrpanakhā

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Story of Ramayana in a nutshell

(so called because she possessed nails as big as a winnowing fan), who dwelt in Janasthāna (a portion of the Dandaka forest) and was capable of assuming any form at will, was disfigured by Srī Rāma (by having her nose and ears lopped off by Laksmana while living in that very forest. (46)

Srī Rama then killed on the field of battle all the rākshasas that came prepared (for an encounter) at the instigation of Sūrpanakha, including (their leaders) Khara, Trisirā and the rākshasa Dūsana as also their followers. (No less than) four . teen thousand rākshasas dwelling in Janasthāna were made short work of by Rama while sojourning in that forest. Stupefied through anger to hear of the destruction of his kinsmen, Rāvana (the king of Lanka) sought the help of a fellow rakshasa (one of the two sons of the ogress Tadaka), Manca by name. Though repeatedly discouraged by Manca saying, "It is not advisable for you to make enemies with that powerful prince (Srī Rāma), 0 Rāvana!" yet turning a deaf ear to his advice and impelled by death, the aforesaid Rāvana, who made people scream (in terror wherever he went out in expedition) then proceeded to the site of Rama's hermitage along with Manca. Having caused the two princes (Rāma and Laksmana) to be removed afar (from the hermitage) by the wily Manca, he stole away Srī Rama's spouse (Sītā), killing the vulture Jatāyu (who tried to intercept him). Now tormented with grief to perceive the vulture mortally wounded and to hear (from it) of Sītā (the princess of Mithila), having been forcibly carried off (by Ravana), Srī Rama (a scion of Raghu) tormented with grief, loudly wailed. Then, having cremated the vulture Jatayu and hunting for Sīta in the forest in that very state of grief, Srī Rama descried a rakshasa, Kabandha by name, who was deformed of body and terrible to look at: so the tradition goes. (47-55) Having made short work of him, the mighty armed prince cremated him and the demon (regained his original form of a Gandharva and) ascended to heaven. (While rising to heaven) he said to Srī Rama, ""Seek, 0 Rama (a scion of Raghu), Sabarī, a pious woman, who is well versed in the principles of righteousness." The highly effulgent 

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Story of Ramayana in a nutshell

Rāma, the destroyer of his foes, (accordingly) approached Sabarī. (56 57)

Duly worshipped by Sabarī, Sri Rama, son of Dasaratha, came into contact with the monkey chief, Hanuman, on the brink of the Pampa Lake: so the tradition goes. (58) At the intercession of Hanuman alone he further made friends with Sugnva. To Sugriva the exceedingly powerful Rama duly narrated from the very beginning the whole of his popular story and the well known story of Sīta (his consort) in particular. Pleased to hear the whole narrative of Srī Rama, the monkey chief Sugnva too declared friendship with Srī Rama in the presence of (the sacred) fire as a witness. In response to an inquiry (made by Srī Rama) with regard to his enmity (with his own elder brother, Valī, the whole incident was then related by Sugnva (the ruler of the monkeys), afflicted as he was, to Srī Rama out of affection. Again, Srī  Rama took a vow that (very) moment that Valī  would be killed by him. (59 62) And, there (on Mount Rsyamuka) the monkey chief described (to Srī  Rama) the (unique) strength of Valī  (his elder brother), since Sugriva was ever full of misgivings concerning Sri Rama (a scion of Raghu) in the matter of prowess (vis a vis his opponent, Valī). (63) In order to convince Sri Rama (of Valī 's strength) Sugriva actually showed to him the (exceptionally) tall skeleton of (the demon) Dundubhi (killed by Valī ), which looked like a big mountain (and which had been disdainfully kicked away to a long distance by Valī ). (64) Smiling (at this) and gazing on. the skeleton, the mighty armed Rama, who possessed extraordinary strength, hurled it with his big toe to a distance of full eighty miles. (65) Sri Rama, in order to inspire confidence in (the mind of) Sugriva, further pierced on that (very) occasion with a single mighty shaft seven palmyra trees (standing in a line adjacent to one another), a hillock (standing by) as well as Rasatala (the sixth subterranean plane including the five preceding ones). (66)

Reassured by the latter feat and accompanied by Srī  Rama, that great monkey (Sugriva) then marched at once with a mindfull

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Story of Ramayana in a nutshell

of delight to Kiskindha (the capital of Valī ), situated cave  like (in the midst of mountains). (67) Then roared Sugriva, the monkey chief, who was tawny gold (in appearance). Distracted by that great (unusual) roar, Valī  (the king of the monkeys) sallied forth (to meet Sugnva). (68) Reassuring Tara (his de  voted and sagacious wife, who discouraged him by pleading that Sugnva had since secured the allliance of Srī Rāma and as such could no longer be conquered), he then closed with Sugnva and in the course of that (very) encounter Srī Rāma (the celebrated scion of Raghu) disposed of Valī  with a single arrow. (69) Having (thus) killed Valī  on the field of battle at the instance of Sugnva, Sri Rama (a scion of Raghu) then installed Sugriva himself on Valī's throne. (70) Bringing together all the monkeys, the said Sugriva (the jewel among the monkeys) too despatched them, in all directions, keen as he was to have Sī ta (the daughter of janaka) traced out. (71)

Then, according to the counsel of Sampati, the vulture king (who could see Sī ta in Lanka from that distance), the mighty Hanuman leapt across the brackish sea, eight hundred miles broad, (that parted the mainland of India from Lanka). (72) Duly reaching the city of Lanka, ruled over by (the demon king) Ravana, he found there Sī ta confined in a grove of Asoka trees, contemplating (on the feet of Sri Rama). (73) Presenting (to her) the souvenir (in the shape of a signet ring handed over to him by Sri Rama) and relating the news (about Sri Rama's alliance with Sugriva and the latter's installation on the throne of Kiskindha after Valī , his elder brother and mortal enemy, had been got rid of by Srī  Rama) and having consoled the daughter of King Janaka (with the assurance that her consort would shortly come and rescue her after disposing of the tyrannical Ravana), Hanuman demolished the outer gate of the orchard. (74) Having made short work of five army commanders (Pingalanetra and others) as also seven sons of ministers (Jambumalī  and so on), and crushed the gallant Aksa (a son of Ravana), he allowed himself to be bound (under the spell of a Brahmastra or missile presided over by Brahma, the creator,

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Story of Ramayana in a nutshell

and discharged by Rāvana's heir apparent Meghanāda). (75) Though knowing himself as released by the (aforesaid) missile in consequence of a boon granted by Brahmā (to the effect that after undergoing bondage for about a couple of hours, the missile associated with his name being infallible, he would be rid of it) the hero (Hanuman, who was keen to meet Ravana) deliberately bore with those rakshasas who carried him in bondage (to Ravana ). (76) Having set on fire the city of Lanka barring (the abode of) Sīta, the princess of Mithila, alone, the great monkey (Hanuman) then came back (by the same route to Kiskindha) to break the delightful news (of Sīta having been found) to Srī Rama. (77) Approaching the high souled Rama and circumambulating him (as a mark of respect), Hanuman (who was possessed of infinite intelligence) submitted (to him) that Sīta, had been seen (by him) in reality. (78)

Moving to the shore of the ocean (in the extreme south), accompanied by Sugnva, Srī Rama then shook the ocean to its lowest depths (in Pātāla, the nethermost subterranean plane) by his arrows glorious as the sun (on the latter refusing to al  low passage to the army of monkeys, that sought to march across it in order to reach Lanka in their bid to recover Sīta). (79) (At this) Ocean, the lord of the rivers, not only revealed himself (in person to Srī Rama) but also apologized to him and only at his intercession Srī Rāma caused Nala to build a bridge (across the sea). (80) Reaching the city of Lanka along the bridge and killing Ravana in a (single) combat, Srī Rāma experienced a sense of great shame on getting back Sīta (who had remained so long at the house of a demon and could be easily pronounced by critics as polluted). (81) Srī Rāma then spoke harsh words to her in the assembly of monkeys and others. Resenting those words Sīta chaste as she was entered fire. (82) Coming to know Sīta as sinless from the words of the fire god (who testified to her chastity), Srī Rāma thereupon accepted her. All the three worlds, comprising the animate and inanimate creation, along with the hosts of gods and Rsis, were pleased with that remarkable feat of the high souled Rāma (in

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Story of Ramayana in a nutshell

the shape of the overthrow of Rāvana and the deliverance of Sīta). Honoured by all the gods, Srī Rama (thereupon) looked extremely delighted. (83 84) Having installed Vibhīsana, the chief of the rakshasas, on the throne of Lanka, Srī Rama felt accomplished of purpose and, rid of anxiety, greatly rejoiced: so the tradition goes. (85)

Having received a boon (to the effect that all the combat  ants that had fought on the side of Srī Rama and fallen in battle be restored to life) from the gods (who came in their aerial cars to felicitate Srī Rama on his victory, that had brought solace to all the three worlds) and aroused (as though from sleep) the monkeys (fallen in battle), Srī Rama flew to Ayodhya in (the aerial car known by the name of) Puspaka (that had been snatched by Ravana from his half brother, Kubera, the god of riches), accompanied by his relations (Sīta and Laksmana) and friends (Vibhīsana, Sugnva and others). (86) Reaching the her  mitage of the sage Bharadwaja (in the vicinity of Prayaga), Srī Rama of unfailing prowess despatched Hanuman (in advance) to the presence of Bharata (in order to apprise him of his safe return lest he should be taken unawares). (87) Narrating past history (the circumstances that had led to his exile in the forest) and boarding the celebrated Puspaka once more, he then flew to Nandigrama (then a part of Ayodhya), accompanied by Sugnva (and others). (88) Having disentangled his matted hair at Nandigrama along with his (three) brothers and got back Sīta, the sinless Rama regained his kingdom (too). (89)

(During the reign of Srī Rama) people will be positively much delighted and cheerful, contented and well fed, exceedingly pious, free from mental agony and bodily ailments and rid of (the scourge of) famine and fear (of theft etc.,). (90) No  where will any men witness the death of their son or daughter; women will never be widows and will be ever devoted to their husband. (91) There will be no fear from fire nor will living beings be drowned in water. There will be neither fear from wind nor any fear of fever. (92) Neither will there be fear of starvation in his kingdom nor that of thieves. Cities and states will be

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Story of Ramayana in a nutshell

full of riches and food grains. (93) All will be ever extremely happy as in Satyayuga. Having propitiated the Lord through hundreds of horse sacrifices and (other) sacrifices involving the use of abundant gold, (nay) bestowed with due ceremony a billion cows on the learned and given away untold riches to the Brāhmanas, the highly renowned Rāma will establish royal dynasties a hundred times more prosperous than before (by not only recognizing and confirming their sovereignty but even by liberally subsidizing them). He will direct the people belonging to (all) the four grades of society to follow their respective duties on this terrestrial plane. (94-96) Having served his kingdom for eleven thousand years, Srī Rāma will ascend to Brahmaloka (the highest heaven). (97) He who reads this sacred narrative of Srī Rāma, which is capable of purifying the mind and wiping out sins and is treated on par with the Vedas, is completely absolved from all sins. (98) Reading this narrative centering round Srī Rāma and conducive to longevity, a man shall be, on departing from this world, honoured in heaven along with his sons and grandsons as well as his followers and attendants. (99) Reading it, a Brahmana bids fair to attain eminence in eloquence; if he is a Ksatriya, he is sure to attain lordship over the earth; a man belonging to the mercantile community is sure to secure profit in trade and a man belonging to the Sudra class can hope to attain superiority (in his own class). (100)   

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Story of Ramayana in a nutshell

Rama hurries to his father for the coronation ceremony

Western Pahari, c. 1690/1710

Museum Rietberg, Zurich

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