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Janmashtmi festival – story of birth of Shri Krishna (in pictures)

Birth of Shri Krishna and the festival of Janmashtmi

Birth of Shri Krishna is celebrated as the festival of Janmashtmi all over the India. This festival has a great significance as it underlines the importance of Shri Krishna – the eighth incarnation of Shri Vishnu.

This religious festival is celebrated all over India in the month of August/September on the ashtami of Krishna Paksh or the eighth day in the month of Bhadon according to the Hindu calendar.

Shri Krishna was born to Vasudev and Devaki. He is an incarnation of Vishnu dashavatar. Devaki was the sister of Kansa. Kansa was a sinful ruler of mathura. During the wedding of Devki and Vasudev, there was an akashvani that eighth child of Devki will kill Kansa.

Akashvani of Kans death - Devaki Vasudev wedding

Akashvani of Kans death during Devaki Vasudev wedding

Kansa killed the first six children of Devki. Seventh was Balrama, who was saved by divine forces and eighth was Shri Krishna.

Krishna’s birth in prison

When Krishna was born in the prison, a chain of events happened, which surprised Vasudev. The gates of the cell flow open and all the guards fell asleep.

Note:  According to historians, the prison cell, popularly known as ‘Garbha Griha’, in the temple premise is the exact place where lord Krishna was born.  This temple is known as Shri Krishna Janmabhoomi mandir  The stone walled cell is reminiscent of the cruelty of King Kansa. Many statues and sculptures of the bygone era were found on excavating the site. The prison cell was gradually turned into the present beautiful temple. Lakhs of devotees throng the temple during Janmashtami. The festivities and celebrations during the festival is famous all over India. Celebrations begin during mid night with the birth of Bhagwan.

 

 

Guards fell asleep, doors of prison opened on Krishna’s birth.

He thought of Nand, his close friend in Gokul and decided to handover his child to him in order to save him from the clutch of Kansa.

On that fateful night, heavy rains which led to river Yamuna being in floods. As soon as the feet of Lord touched the river, the flow became normal and Yamuna give way for the Lord.  Sheshnag, the serpent formed an umbrella to save the new born baby from rain.

Birth of Shri Krishna, vasudeva carrying him to gokul

He reached gokul. He kept his child next to fast asleep Yashoda and took the baby girl lying with him back to Mathura. The baby girl is believed to be the sister of Lord Vishnu.

After vasudev reached Mathura, Kansa was given the  news of birth of the eighth child of Devki and Vasudev. Kansa rushed to the prison-cell and lifted the baby girl to kill her despite pleadings from Devki. But, instead of hitting the stone, the girl flew up in the air and announced that the annihilator of Kansa was born and in safe hands.

celebrating Janmashtami festival

celebrating Janmashtami festival

More stories about Lord Krishna

Recommended article: Pictures of Krishna’s exploits

A tale of two brothers – Bhima and Hanumana

 When Bhima was humbled

There is an interesting story from Mahabharata about Bhima and Hanumana. This may sound strange but Bhima and Lord Hanumana can be termed as brothers, as they both are born to Lord Pawan, the god of winds. While Hanumana was a constant companion of Lord Rama in treta yuga, Shri Krishna was in company of Arjuna, Bhima’s brother, in the Mahabharata.

When Arjuna was away

Arjuna, the third pandava, had gone to the Himalayas in quest of great weapons from Indra. In case of a war, he would have to face great warriors like Bhishma, Drona, Kripa, Aswatthama, Karna  many more. And it was necessary to acquire more skill and power. The other four pandavas and Draupadi found life devoid of joy in his absence. Desiring a change in life, they moved in search of  a more peaceful place.
At last they came to the Narayanasrama forest. They decided to take rest and stay there for some time.

The flower and request to Bhima by Draupadi

One day, the wind placed a flower near Draupadi. The sweet scent of the flower mesmerized Draupadi. Draupadi felt a deep desire to possess that flower known as Saugandhika. She requested Bhima to get her that flower.  Bhima agreed to to satisfy her desire. He set out in the direction from which  the  fragrance came.

Bhima meets the monkey

On way to the flower, Bhima found an old monkey resting on the path. He asked the monkey to give him way as he was obstructing his path. In reply, the monkey politely declines saying that he was old and weak. Bhima got angry and said that he was talking the greatest mace warrior and possesses great power.  The monkey replies that if he has such strength, why don’t he himself make way by moving the monkey.
Bhima and Hanumana

Bhima and Hanumana

Bhima humbled

Bhima, out of pride and confidence,  Bhima tried  to pull the monkey’s tail aside .But he could  not move it even  a little bit. He put all his might in the endeavor, but to no avail. He was all perspiration. In spite of his best efforts,  he  could not move the tail. As such the question of challenging this monkey for a show of strength did not arise. He felt very humiliated and subdued. He told  the monkey “You are no ordinary monkey. Please tell me who you are. I accept defeat  and bow to you”.

The monkey tells about himself

Now, smilingly, the old monkey tells that he is Hanuman, his brother, who crossed the ocean in search of Sita. He said –I am your brother. Your path  ahead is perilous. It is the path of the gods and is not safe for men. So I came to  caution  you. I knew you have come to collect the  Saugandhika flower. I shall show you the pond, where this  flower grows. You can  collect as many as you want and go back. Bhima was happy. He bowed to Hanumana and requested him  to show his huge form in which he jumped over the sea, one hundred yojanas wide, to land on Lanka.

Lord Hanumana shows his virata form

Hanumana increased his size till he seemed to occupy  the whole landscape, like a hill.  His form was dazzlingly white, so Bhima had to cover his eyes . Resuming his normal form, Hanuman embraced  Bhima and blessed him. He also assured him  “When you roar like a lion on the battle field, my voice shall join yours and strike terror in the hearts of your enemies. I will be there on the flag of the chariot of Arjuna .You will be victorious”. With Hanuman’s embrace, Bhima’s strength also increased. Hanuman wanted to free his brother Bhima from his ego and to give him greater  strength to fight his enemies.
Hanuman shows his true form

Hanuman shows his true form

 

 

Hanumanchatti

Hanumanchatti

Ganesha and Lord Shiva

Seven interesting stories of Lord Ganesha (Indian mythology)

Lord Ganesha

He is the son of Goddess Parvati and Lord Shiva, has the blessing that his worship should be performed before all gods. Following are some of the unknown and interesting facts about Lord Ganesha.

 Broken tusk

When Sage Vyasa set out to write Mahabharata, he wanted someone to help him with the writing.. He approached Lord Ganesha for help. Ganesha accepted the job on a condition that you will have to recite the tale without a pause and without a break. If you stop even once, I will stop writing.

Vyasa accepted this condition from Lord Ganesha. But, he too set a condition that Ganesha should understand every thing before writing. Ganesha agreed. Both sat down to create an epic.Vyas started narrating his epic at a great speed and Ganesha took down the dictation fast and furious. However, soon Ganesha’s pen broke. It could not keep pace with Maharishi’s recital.

Ganesha understood that he had been a little too proud and underestimated the Maharshri’s intellectual powers. Quietly he broke off one of his tusks, dipped it in ink and used it as a pen. As for Vyasa, whenever he would get tired he would compose a particular difficult stanza. Ganesha would spend few seconds trying to figure out the lines and Maharishi would get a break. Ganesha and Vyasa spend 3 years writing the epic. Although several stanzas of mahabharata are said to be lost, even today the poem stands 100,000 stanzas long.

Vyasa and Ganesha writing Mahabharata

Vyasa and Ganesha writing Mahabharata

Wedding party

Swarg Lok, was buzzing with excitement. Lord Vishnu was sending out invitation for his wedding to goddess Lakshmi. The wedding was to take place at Kundanpur, Lakshmi’s home town.

The Gods were busy taking out there finest jewels for the wedding. They planned to impress Lakshmi and her town people with a grand marriage procession. Guests started assembling at Vishnu’s house. Suddenly,the gods saw Ganesha entering Vishnu’s house. They were very upset to see him.

They did not want Ganesha to come along with with them to Kundanpur. They said he eat too much and look weird. Not only does he have an elephant head, he is very fat too. and his feet look like jugs and tummy sticks out a mile.we are all such handsome fellows, we would feel embarrassed walking along with such strange looking person. They informed Vishnu about their decision, Vishnu didn’t want to leave Ganesha behind, but under pressure from gods, he had to accede.

They asked Vishnu to tell Ganesha to stay back to look after swarglok.Vishnu did as he was told. Ganesha felt bad about missing out on the wedding,he accepted the task. Narad,a real mischief-maker told every thing to Ganesha, and gave him a brilliant plan how to get back at other gods.

Narad said Ganesha, the mouse you ride is the chief of the mice, ask him to take army of mice and dig under the road the marriage procession plans to take. The hollowed out road will not be able to bear the weight of chariots,elephants, carriages and horses in the procession.As soon as any one steps on it,the road will get crumble and all will get stuck.

Ganesha was delighted with the plan. He sent his mouse scurrying to the task. Things just happened as Narad had planned. As soon as Vishnu’s chariot rolled on to the hollowed-out section, the road crumbled. The horses tumbled down and the chariot wheel sank deep into the earth. The entire parade came to halt. The gods were unable to pull out the wheels. a farmer who saw gods struggling offered to help. Although gods didn’t believe the farmer could do much , yet they decided to give him a chance. Shouting Jai Ganesha in one jerk the wheel came up. One god asked him why he shouted Jai Ganesha before pulling out the carriage. The farmer replied that Ganesha is remover of all obstacles. He is the God of beginning. So, he always pray to him before starting any work. Gods were very ashamed The farmer simple words reminded that looks do not matter.It’s person’s greatness and goodness that really counts. They went back to Ganesha, apologise and begged him to join the procession.

Punishment to Moon

Ganesha, the pot bellied elephant god, loved food and could spend entire day, eating. Once on a moonlit night after stuffing himself with his favourite sweet, ladoo, he went for a ride on his vahana, a tiny rat. The rat could not bear his weight and tripped. Ganesha fell on the ground with a thud. The moon laughed,seeing this funny sight. Seeing the moon mocking him, Ganesha got angry. He cursed the moon saying that any man who looked at the moon on Ganesha Chaturthi, would be wrongly blamed.

Moon and Ganesha Chaturthi festival

Moon and Ganesha Chaturthi festival

The moon, realised its mistake, and  begged Ganesha to remove his curse. But Ganesha was adamant, finally after a long time, Ganesha gave in and reduced the punishment. He could not take back his curse, but said that falsely accused person would have to look at the Moon on the second day of the fortnight to win back his good name.

 The elephant god

One day Parvati wanted to take bath, but there was no one to guard her. So she created a young boy with the sandal wood paste. She named the little boy Ganesha. Parvati asked him not to allow anyone to enter while she bathed. Soon Lord Shiva returned and was surprised to see Ganesha. Ganesha refused to allow Lord Shiva to enter the house.

Lord Shiva was furious and sent his bull, Nandi, to fight the little boy but Ganesha defeated Nandi. After a fierce fight between Lord Shiva and Gaesha,  Shiva cut off Ganesha’s head. When Parvati came out and saw her son dead, she was furious. Shiva tried to console her but she couldn’t stop crying.

She ordered Shiva to bring him back to life. Shiva asked Nandi to bring the head of the first creature he found. Nandi returned with the head of an elephant. Lord Shiva placed the elephant head on the Ganesha’s body and bring him back to life. Shiva gave him the title of Ganpati, and all other God’s declared him the God of beginnings. All would have to pray him before starting anything new.

Ganesha and Lord Shiva

Ganesha and Lord Shiva

Mooshak

Long long ago, there lived a terribly wicked asura, Gajamukh. He wanted to become richest and strongest king ever. He was already king of asura but  wanted to become king of peoples and God’s world too. He decided to impress Lord Shiva and ask ed God to grant him with magical powers. He left his palace, started living in jungle and worshipping Shiva.

Without eating or drinking, and standing on just one foot, he prayed to Shiva every day. Several years passed and finally Lord Shiva was impressed and granted him all the magical powers he wanted. The most special of these was that no weapon could harm him. Gajamukh then started misusing his powers first, he  conquered the world and then he started attacking Gods.

Only Shiva, Vishnu, Brahma and Ganesha  remained unconquered by him. Gajamukh ordered everyone to worship him and only him. Then Lord Shiva, asked his son Ganesha to punish him. A terrible fight between Ganesha and Gajamukh started. Swords, spear, arrors all bounced off the asura because of the boon he was granted.

Finally Ganesha, broke his tusk an threw it on Gajamukh wounding him badly. Still Gajamukh was not ready to give up. He turned himself into a mouse and rushed at Ganesha. Ganesha jumped and sat down on his back. Crushed under Ganesha’s weight, Gajamukh had to accept his defeat. Ganesha decided to punish him by keeping him as a mouse and keeping him as a vehicle. Gajamukh was also happy with  the arrangement and became Ganesha’s friend now.

Mooshaka-and-Ganesha

Mooshaka-and-Ganesha

 

A fistful of rice

There was a little village, named Ganeshpur. People of Ganeshpur loved Lord Ganesha.Peoples were busy in a big Ganpati festival. Villagers were busy in cleaning and decorating the village and women were busy in cooking sweets. Meanwhile a little boy entered the village with little rice in one hand and and a spoonful of rice on other hand His clothes were torn and face was dirty.

He walked through the village shouting ‘Here I come with a spoonful of milk and  a fistful of rice. cook me kheer and Ganesha will give you prize. But the people were too busy to pay him any attention. Then the boy reached the hut of a poor,old women. she lived alone,  and was sick but still decided to help the little boy. She said I can make kheer but I have nothing to cook. The little boy said don’t worry amma borrow a big pot from your neighbour.

The old lady thought the little boy was being silly but did what he wanted.She put the fistful of rice and a spoonful of milk into the pot, added some sugar and put it on fire. The little boy said amma, the kheer  will take some time to cook. I will go and have a bath. when I will come back we can eat together. The boy ran away and the old women fell asleep.

Suddenly she woke up by delicious smell. She got up and look inside. she was shocked to see that the pot was brimming over with creamy white kheer. This site made her mouth water and irresistible to wait for the little boy. Finally, she decided to eat, first she too a little bit and  offered to  Ganesha and then took large portion for herself. In one gulp she finished, then she took another then another yet the pot remained full. when the little boy came, he asked for the kheer.

Quietly the old women put the bowl in front of him. The boy asked and where is your bowl amma. Red faced, the old women confessed, that  I ate without waiting for you.  The little boy said, don’t worry amma I have eaten the kheer too. But when you have just came. The boy said, don’t you remember amma before eating you have offered some to Ganesha. Well I am the same Ganesha said the boy changing into true form.

The old women fell crying at Ganesha feet. Ganesha picked her and said you are very kind to me now make a wish. The old women was very intelligent. She asked Ganesha to give me health,give me wealth, surrounded me with lots of daughters and sons. Let me live long enough to see my great great grand sons.  Ganesha granted her the wish. The old women was very happy and she thanked Ganesha for making her wish come true.

Mr and Mrs frog

Mr and Mrs. frog lived in the well behind the king’s palace. What a perfect life they led! they spend the whole day lolling around the sun. If they felt hot, they would pop into the pool for a quick swim. And if in case they felt bored, they would simply nip into the palace and watch the people there.

They thought men’s are very very funny creatures because they were tall and walk on two legs, have clear skin and are always in hurry and scurry. They both hop back to the well and examine there brilliant green skin full of warts and feel happier then ever and feel how lucky they are to be born as frog.

But there was one problem in frog’s life. It was Ganesha. Mrs frog was great follower of Ganesha, She chant Ganesha’s name throughout the day to thank him for giving them such a nice life. Mr frog was terribly jealous of this. He hate to hear his wife taking name of Ganesha and would quarrel with her. He said I am your husband and I will give you all happiness in this world so, you should stop taking Ganesha’s name instead you should take my name.

One day a maid came to draw water from the well . The frogs got drawn along with the water. Maid didn’t noticed them and set the pot on fire. to warm the water.  Poor frogs tried to jump out but the pot was so deep that they couldn’t. Mr frog croaked , ‘Dear wife , why don’t you pray to your lord Ganesha ? He might help us. Mrs frog said ,dear husband , you have often told me that a good wife only chants her husbands name. Mr frog croaked you misunderstood me no one becomes a bad wife by chanting Ganesha’s name.  But husband chant irritates you.

Wife, hot water irritates me more. So, please pray to God to rescue us. Mrs frog took a promise that he would never stop her from taking his name. Mrs frog pleaded for mercy within minutes the  pot overturned and fell from fire. All water spelled out and both frog hopped back to well. Now they both sit in the sun singing Ganesha’s praises.

Clever Ganesha and Narada’s mango – Indian mythology

Ganesha, Kartikeya and Narada

Once, Narada took a mango to Lord Shiva and Parvati where the two sons of Lord were also present. He presented the mango to Parvati  and said that this mango is special and requested her  to accept the mango. Parvati intended to distribute the fruit between her two sons, Ganesha and Kartikeya equally, but sage Narada intervened and said that this fruit cannot be cut into two and can be consumed by a single person only.

Narada suggested to have a competition between the two brothers, and the winner of the contest will be awarded the mango. Kartikeya enquired about the competition and after much thought, Narada suggested – ‘Whoever goes around the world three times first will win the mango’. Both brothers agreed to the condition put forth by Narada.

Mango by Sage Narada

Mango by Sage Narada

 

Hearing this, Kartikeya got on to the peacock and went to go around the world. Ganesha did not have a peacock or anything else he could ride so he thought for a while. He then went around Shiva and Parvathi three times and went to claim his prize saying. ‘ My Parents are the world for me. I have won the competition.

The competition between two brothers

The competition between two brothers – Kartikeya and Ganesha

Ganesha further said that Lord Shiva and Parvati are the first couple and whole universe is created with them. When he circled them three times, it was equivalent to circling the world three times. Thus he claimed his prize and started to eat the mango. When Kartikeya came back duly circling the earth three times, he found clever Ganesha eating the mango.

When he learnt that his elder brother had got the fruit by his fast thinking instead of running around, he accepted his defeat. On the other hand, Ganesha had won the contest by virtue of using his superior intellect and Kartikeya had to accept defeat in his favour.

Interesting story of birth of Lord Ganesha and duel with Shiva

Birth of Lord Ganesha

The birth of Lord Ganesha birth can be regarded as interesting as any story could be. Ganesha was born unknown to Lord Shiva. Goddess Parvati needed someone to guard the chambers while she was taking bath. It happened in the past that Shiva devotee allowed him access when she did not want this to happen. So, She made a figure with turmeric paste and put life into it. Then she asked the boy, Ganesha not to allow anyone to enter the house. Ganesha followed his mother’s orders to the word and did not allow Shiva any access to the house.

Birth of Lord Ganesha depicted in Madhubani paintain

Note: Madhubani painting is popular folk art form.

Shiva got angry and asked his followers to attack the boy. But they were conquered. Shiva got surprised. Realizing that this was no ordinary boy, Shiva decided to fight himself, and in his divine fury cut Ganesha’s head, killing him quickly. When Parvati came to know of this, she was so angry that she decided to destroy the whole universe. But Lord Brahma pleaded that she reconsider her intent. She said she would if two conditions were met: One, that Ganesha be brought back to life, and two, that he be forever worshipped before all the other gods.

Brahma also suggested that he replace Ganesha’s head with the first living being that came his way with its head facing north. Shiva then sent his followers to bring the head of a creature they happened to find sleeping with its head facing north. They found a dying elephant which slept in this manner, and after its death took its head. Shiva attached the elephant’s head to Ganesha’s body and brought him back to life. Ganesha is worshipped by everyone before beginning any puja.

There are other stories which not as popular as the above:

Lord Ganesha and Shani

Another less popular story of lord Ganesha’s birth as written in the Brahma Vaivarta Purana. Eager to have a son, Parvati decided that she would keep a year-long fast to appease lord Vishnu. At the end of her fast lord Vishnu was duly appeased and gave her the boon of a son. In some stories, the son is a reincarnation of lord Krishna, another prominent Hindu deity.

On the joyous occasion of the birth of their son, whom they named Ganesha, Shiva and Parvati invited all the gods to their abode in Mount Kailash to look upon the baby. While all the gods bestowed the young lord Ganesha with gifts, there was one god who refused to look at the child.

This was the god Shani, son of the god Surya. The gaze of Shani is said to cast a bad omen on which it is directed. So Shani had a very good reason to not look at Ganesha. But Parvati insisted that Shani must look at the face of his ‘nephew’. Very reluctantly, Shani finally agreed and cast a quick look towards the young lord Ganesha. Almost immediately the child’s head fell off, in some stories it turns to ashes.

Parvati was devastated and it was lord Vishnu who came to her rescue. In one quick movement, he had mounted his vahana and had gone to fetch a replacement head. Returning with the head of a young elephant he had found of the banks of a river, lord Vishnu placed the head on the lifeless torso of the boy. The boy was brought back to life to the joy and utmost relief of both Shiva and Parvati. And so the naughty, fun loving god Ganesha was born.

Sage Kashyap’s curse

Yet another story mentions a completely different reason for the birth and subsequent replacement of Lord Ganesha’s head with that of a young elephant. But in this case the story starts a little differently. Aditya was one of the sons of the great sage Kashyapa, one of the seven great Rishi or sages. According to the story, Shiva, in a mistake, slew Aditya by cutting off his head. Kashyapa cursed the great lord Shiva that the same fate would befall the first born son of Shiva and when that happened, the child’s head would be replaced by the head of Indra’s elephant. And so, Ganesha, the elephant headed god was born.

In another twist to the same tale, when Shiva cut off the head of Aditya, He replaced it with Indra’s elephant’s head and brought him back to life. Kashyapa was very incensed by Shiva’s act and he put a curse on Shiva. According to the curse, the first born child of lord Shiva would be born with an elephant head. In the case of this particular story, Ganesha was already born with an elephant head unlike other stories where he acquires his elephant head later.

Pictures of Shri Krishna exploits

Shri Krishna and his exploits

His teacher – Sandipani. Sage Sandipani taught Balrama and Shri Krishna.

Shri Krishna and Balrama took education under sage Sandipani. There is famous story how he paid his gurudakshina to his teacher.

Sage Sandipani – teacher of Krishna and Balrama

Kansa tried hard to kill the Bal Krihsna and employed various demons. First was Pootna, who visited Nand gram and on pretence of feeding him, tried to poison. The kid took the life out of her.

 Pootna (putna) was appointed by Kansa to kill Krishna

Kansa appointed Putna to kill Shri Krishna

But she was killed by kid Krishna.

Putna killed by Shri Krishna

God Indra got angry and directed rains to flood the village. He held the mountain as an umbrella on on finger and saved his village, gokul. From his childhood only, he defeated and killed many demons. Suktasoor, Trinawurut are few of them.

in his childhood, he ate mud. After scolded by his mother, he showed three worlds in his mouth. Yashoda understood and said to herself “I am a great fool in looking upon the lord of the three worlds as my son.”

he liberated Jumlajoorun from a curse from Narada, who were born as trees in gokul. These were two sons of Kuber, who were playing in water, did not pay attention to Narada.

Krishna helping villagers by holding govardhan parvat(mountain)

Govardhan Parvat

He killed Aghasura, Dhenukasura who have terrorised the gokul dham.

Krishna taming Kaliya

Killing of Kaliya Nag

There is an interesting story of why Kaliya nag was residing in Yamuna (Gokul).

Shri Krishna and Balrama killing Channura and Mushtika.

Killing of Chhannura and Mushtika

 Krishna killing Keshi

Kesi vadh by Krishna

Kesi vadh

he also killed Vatasur and Vyomasur.

 Krishna killing Kansa

As per Shrimad Bhagavata Purana, Shri Krishna was 12 when he was finally being recalled to Mathura, by his Maamaa Kansa – so that he could get killed. While Keshav ended up killing Kansa as prophesized, we know that he also liberated Vasudeva and Devaki from prison upon killing his Maternal Uncle Kansa.

Killing of Kansa

The Ramayana story in pictures – Bal Kand (1)

Story of the Ramayana – in pictures

In Indian mythology, there are two major epics. The Ramayana, and the Mahabharat. In Treta yuga, the story of Rama and his wife Sita, is the main story around which the Ramayana is written. This epic was written by Sage Valmiki, who himself was a robber, but later mended his ways to become a sage.

The Ramayana epic – written by Sage Valmiki

Ramcharitamanas is also written on Rama and Sita by Tulsidas.

King Dashrath, the king of Ayodhya organised yagna with a desire for son. Agni, the god of fire presented him with a bowl of kheer(sweet rice). Upon comsumption of kheer, Dashratha would beget sons.

Dashrath performing yagna and receiving prasad from Agni god

Dashrath performing yagna and receiving prasad from Agni god

The Kheer or payasam, thus obtained, was distributed among Dashrath’s three wives, Kaushalya, Kaikeyi and Sumitra. Soon enough, these queens have been blessed with sons, Rama, Bharat, Laxman and Shatrughan.

Princes Rama, Laxmana, Bharat and Shatrughana as newborn.

in their childhood, sage Vasistha acted as their teacher. He taught them all the skills required by them as the princes.

Education of princes by sage Vasistha in the Ramayana

Helping Vishwamitra

Rama and Laksham helped sage Vishwamitra. Rakshasas were creating problems for him. Sages were unable to perform yagna. Sage asked Dashrath to give Rama and Lakshman to help him. Dashrath was initially worried. Persuaded by Vasistha, he agreed. This helped the princes as Vishwamitra trained them in warfare. Both brothers killed Taraka and Subahu among other demons.

Rama killing Taraka

Swayamvar of Sita and liberation of Ahalya

Vishwamitra received invitation from King Janak for Sita’s swayamvar. He asked  Rama and Lakshman to accompany him.

on the way, they came to a place where Ahilya was present in a form of stone. Rama liberated her on advise of sage. She was serving a curse of sage Gautam, who was her husband.

Liberating Ahilya by Rama

At Mithila, the challenge of Sita swayamvar was to tie the string of Shiva’s bow. Many warriors including Ravana has failed in even moving the bow. However, Rama could easily lift the bow. While trying to string the bow, it broken into two pieces. Sita got Rama as her husband.

Rama breaking Shiva’s bow during Sita Swayamvar

However, this brought Parshurama (vishnu dashavatar) to the ceremony. There was the classic confrontation between two avatars of Vishnu. Rama succeeded in pacifying parshurama.

Rama and Parshurama’s confrontation

Finally, the wedding of Rama and Sita took place. All four brother were married. Lakshman was married with Urmila, Janak’s second daughter and Bharat and Shatrughna with Mandavi and Shrutikirti, the daughters of Janak’s younger brother Kushadhwaj.

Wedding of Sita and Rama