Story of Lord Rama’s sister – Shanta

Shanta – Daughter of Dashratha

Few people know that Lord Rama also had a sister, whose name was Shanta. Shanta who was daughter of King Dasharatha and Kausalya. Though Valmiki Ramayan does not mention about Rama’s elder sister. But in Mahabharata, there is a reference that Rompada, King of Anga, who was a close friend of Dasharatha has adopted his daughter.

Rompada adopts Shanta in childhood

Rompada, who was a close friend of Dasharatha was childless. Once he came to meet Dasharatha and expressed his desire to adopt his only daughter Shanta. Kaushalya was surprised to see how could he ask them to give their only daughter in adoption. But, the very next moment she realised that Rompada knew that Dasharatha has 3 wives and he can have many more children.Though Kaushalya was not very happy with the idea of adoption but she felt pity and decided to give her only child in adoption to the king Romapada.

Lord Rama, Shanta and Sita
Lord Rama, Shanta and Sita

Her childhood is spent at Rompada’s kingdom

Little girl Shanta was very close to Rompada was not able to understand  adoption, but was very happy to go and stay with king Romapada.

King Romapada loved her so much that when she grew she forgot about Kausalya and Dasharatha, now she only knew that Romapada was his father and kingdom of Anga was her home.

A brahmin was insulted

One day Romapada was busy talking to his daughter Shanta, a brahmin came to ask for help in cultivation. Rompada did not pay attention to him. Angry brahmin left the kingdom.Lord Indra was very sad to see such insult of his devotee so he gave very little rainfall, due to which there was drought in the kingdom.

 

Everybody in the kingdom was worried about how to solve the problem. Few people came up with the idea that sage Rishyasringa, son of sage Vibhandaka, is the only person who can resolve the problem. Rompada wondered how? They said that he keeps on meditating all the time because he never had any distraction. His father sage Vibhandaka brought him in a forest near Anga. He has never seen any other human except his father. If he agrees to perform a yagna it would definitely rain.

Rishyashringa meets Rompada and Shanta

King Romapada send his best courtesans to bring sage Rishyasringa to his kingdom. When Rishyasringa saw them he was thrilled to meet them. When his father came to about this he was furious and warned him not to meet them. But he could not resist himself from meeting them. He was so happy that he left the ashram with them. Courtesan’s took him to kingdom of Anga. There he met king Romapada and his daughter Shanta, he was very happy to see them. Romapada offered Rishyasringa his daughter in marriage. He accepted the proposal and decided to stay with her for rest of his life.

 

Rishyasringa and Shanta performed the yagna, during the recitation of its mantra, it rained heavily and people were very happy and celebrated it like a festival.When sage Vibhandaka came and could not find his son, he could make out that it was the work of King of Anga. He decided to meet his son. Romapada and Shanta were prepared for  this. Though Vibhandaka was very angry but when he saw his son with his beautiful and intelligent wife his anger cool down.

In Lalitapur, district of Nepal there is  a temple of sage Rishyasringa and goddess Shanta. Whereas in Ayodhya, Dasaratha, father of Shanta had 3 wives but had no children who could carry on kingdom after him.

 

Dasaratha was so worried that he could not concentrate on the affairs of kingdom. One day he discussed this with his minister Sumantra. Sumantra suggested the name of sage Rishyashringa who was married to his daughter Shanta can help him. He said that he had lot of powers of penance. He also explained him how drought in Anga ended because of his yagna. He suggested that if sage Rishyashringa agreed to performed  putrakameshti yagna for him he will definitely be blessed with sons.

Shanta takes part in Dasaratha’s yagna

Dasaratha went to kingdom of Anga. requested his friend to send Shanta and his husband Rishyashringa to perform yagna for him. Both of them gladly came with Dasaratha. As he possessed immense power of penance that he was able to perform the difficult yagna with ease.

Dasaratha is blessed with sons

At the end of the yagna, God of fire emerged and handed a pot of payasam to Dasaratha and said to feed this to his wives. So, that he will have children he always wanted. Dasaratha thanked Shanta and Rishyasringa for their help. After consuming payasam Dasaratha was blessed with four sons Rama, Bharata, Lakshmana and Shatrughna.

 

  

 

Quiz on Ramayana – 21 Facts, How many of them you can answer?

Rama Sita and Laxmana

1. __________was the vaidya(doctor) who healed Lakshman.  Click here for details.

2.  Meghnaad was performing yagna to please the goddess ___________. Click here for details.

3. How Rama identified Vali from Sugriva, when the two brothers were fighting? Click here for details.

4. Who saved Rama and Laxman from Naagpasha? Click here for details.

Meghnaad used naga astra against Ram and Laxman

5. Sita was imprisoned in __________ vatika. (This is easy).

6. Ravana contained amrit in his navel. Rama evaporated this by using _____________ weapon. Click here for details.

7. Who was Ravana’s wife? (This is easy)

8.  How many Kanda’s or books are there in Srimad Valmiki Ramayana?

9. Hanuman is said to be Brahmachari. Yet, he had a son. Can you name his  son? Click here for details.

10. There is one character in the Ramayana, who is also present in Mahabharata. Who is he? Click here for details.

11. Laxman was an incarnation of ____________. Click here for details.

12. First shloka of The Ramayana written by Valmiki is ___________________ This happened when the bird Krounch was killed by a hunter and Valmiki complained with above shloka.

13. Hanuman had two siddhis, garima and __________. With the help of these two, he could get past Sursa.

14. Rama intended to use Brahmastra couple of times, first, on Indra’s son, Jayant. On whom, he wanted to use this weapon second time?

15. Who was the teacher of the four princes, Rama, Laxmana, Bharata and Shatrughan.

16.  Name the wife of Bali (or Vali).

17. Rama took help of Sugriva and monkeys because he was cursed to this effect. Who cursed him?

18. After rejected by Rama, Sita lived in the hermitage of sage __________?

19. Indra’s son, in a form of bird, was annoying Rama and Sita. Rama intended to use brahmastra on him. In what form he (Indra’s son) was in? Click here for answer.

18. Who was the mother of Sita?

19. Rama, Sita and Laxman lived in ____________ forests during their exile.

20. While Jatayu lost his life trying to save Sita from cluthes of Ravana, his brother lived to tell the details of the abduction to Rama. Name him?  Click here for answer.

21. in Bal Kand, Rama let the wife of Sage Gautam come out of a curse. Who was she? Click here to know the answer.

When Sita cursed

Rama Sita and Laxmana

One does not associate Devi Sita with curses, but according to a story, Devi herself have cursed some entities. The whole story goes as following.

Preparation of shraddha for King Dashratha

When Rama, Sita and Lakshman went for exile, Dasharatha passed away, as he was unable to bear the pain of separation of his sons. When Rama and Lakshman got this news they started making preparation for shraddha.

Rama send his brother Lakshman to the village to get necessary things for Shraddha. But, when Lakshman didn’t return for long Rama was worried and decided to go to look for Lakshman and get the things, before leaving he make necessary security arrangements for Sita. But Rama too didn’t return for long.

Rama Sita and Laxmana
Rama Sita and Laxmana

Events at the time of Shraddha

Sita was worried as the time for shraddha was also passing, ceremony had to be performed before noon. Sita decided to perform the ceremony on her own with whatever ingredient that were available  there.

Before starting the ceremony she bathed in the river Phalgu. She lit a earthen lamp. She then made the offering to offer it to the dead ancestors. When she had almost completed the ceremony she heard a voice, Sita you are blessed we are satisfied. she was surprised to see some hand that appeared to accept the offerings. She asked Who he was, she heard a voice that I’m your dead father-in- law, i accept your offerings and blessed her and said you have successfully completed the ceremony.

The five witnesses

Then Sita said when Rama and Lakshman will be back they will not believe her. The voice said they will have to believe you and you have five witnesses. First one is Akshaya vatam (Banyan tree), second is river Phalgu, third is a Cow, fourth is a Tulsi plant and last was a Brahmin. Saying this the hand and the voice disappeared.

Four witnesses turned back

when Rama and Lakshman were back, Sita told them the entire story about how she has successfully completed the ceremony, but both the brothers refuse to believe her. Then Sita called her witnesses,among the five only Akshaya vatam took her side and said the truth but she was surprised as river Phalgu, cow Tulsi  and Brahmin denied having seen anything.

Brothers realized the mistake

Rama and Lakshman without wasting more time started the ceremony. Suddenly they heard a voice saying why have you invoked us again, Sita has performed the ceremony very religiously and satisfied us,  there is no need to repeat the ceremony. Rama and Lakshmana were  ashamed of not believing Sita.

Sita curses the four witnesses

Sita was very unhappy with the witnesses so she cursed them. She cursed River Phalgu that henceforth it would be flowing only underground at Gaya. She cursed Cow that henceforth its mouth will remain impure and will be no longer worshipped from front, only backside will be worshipped. She cursed Tulsi plant that there will be no more tulsi plant in Gaya. She cursed the Brahmin that he will never be satisfied. He will always be hungry and crave for more and more.

She blessed Akshaya Vatam

But, she blessed Akshaya vatam, Banyan tree to remain immortal, And all who come to gaya would  perform the Pinda pradaanam at Akshaya vatam too.

But according to Shiv Purana  Sita has cursed River Phalgu, henceforth it would be flowing underground, She cursed Ketaki flower that henceforth ketaki flower would not be accepted by Lord Shiva in worship. She cursed Cow that henceforth its mouth will be considered impure and lastly, she cursed Fire that it would have to consume  everything indiscriminately.

Unknown facts from Ramayana and Lord Hanumana

Lord Hanumana with sindoor

Ramayana and Lord Hanumana

When it comes to Ramayana and Lord Rama, Lord Hanumana is always remembered. He was a great devotee of Rama, a great scholar and one who was capable of winning all three worlds. But, he set the example to the world and a great lesson in humbleness. These facts are about Ramayana, but Lord Hanumana is an integral part of this.

Lord Rama’ s departure from earth

Ram wouldn’t leave earth as Hanuman wouldn’t allow Yama (God of Death) to enter Ayodhya to claim Ram. To divert Hanuman‘s attention Ram dropped his ring through a crack in the floor and asked Hanuman to fetch it back for him. Going down Hanuman reached the land of serpents and asked the King for Ram’s ring. The king showed Hanuman a vault filled with rings all of which were Ram’s. He told a shocked Hanuman that when in the cycle of time a Ram needs to depart,  he drops a ring down the crack so that a Hanuman can be diverted from his guard.

Why Laxman was younger to Rama but Balrama was elder to Shri Krishna

Laxman complained that he always had to follow Ram’s instructions even though when he thought they were unjust as he the younger brother and thus duty  bound. Ram promised his that in the next life, he, Lakshman would be the elder brother, but also told him that he would still follow his instructions. They were reborn as Balrama and Krishna. And yet Balrama (elder & Shesha Naga) followed Krishna not because of seniority but because Krishna was always right.

Rama and Laxman
Rama and Laxman

Jambavanta wish to fight Lord Rama was fulfilled in next incarnation of Lord Rama

Pleased with his help during the battle with Ravana, Lord Rama granted Jambavanta a wish. Jambavantha then expressed his wish to fight Lord Rama in a duel. Lord Rama said he would definitely fight him but not as Rama. Later in Dwapara yuga, Krishna fought Jambavanta in a duel and defeated him. Jambavantha then realized that it was Lord Rama who in Krishna’s form defeated him.

Lord Krishna and Jambavant
Lord Krishna and Jambavant

How Devi Sita satisfied Lord Hanumana’s hunger

Lord Hanumana once visited Sita in sage Valmiki’s cottage and expressed his desire to eat the food cooked by Sita. Sita cooked many delicacies and started serving Hanumana. But Hanumana’s hunger was insatiable and the entire rations of the cottage were coming to an end. Sita then asked to Lord Rama who suggested her she serve a morsel with a Tulsi Leaf. Sita did the same and Hanumana’s hunger was finally satisfied.

Why Lord Hanumana’s body is covered with vermilion (Sindoor)

Once Lord Hanumana saw Sita applying sindoor (Vermilion) to her hair. He asked her what purpose it served to which Sita replied that it was for the well being and long life of Lord Rama. Then Hanuman smeared his entire body with sindoor for the long life of Lord Rama.

Lord Hanumana with sindoor
Lord Hanumana with sindoor

Why Lord Rama was separated from Sita – Due to Parvati’s curse

After Ravana and his brothers received boons from Lord Brahma, Ravana planned on invading the kingdom of Amaravati, the capital of the heavenly kingdom of Indra. Knowing Ravana’s strength and capability,  Indra consults Narada for help.

Narada tells Indra that Ravana is powerful because his family worships Lord Shiva and that the worship in turn gives them such tremendous power. Narada then suggests Indra that he disrupt Kaikesi’s (Ravan’s Mother) worship of a Linga which is made of sand. Indra disrupts the prayer by destroying the Linga. Knowing this Ravana then promises Kaikesi that he will perform penance and bring Lord Shiva’s Aatma Linga for her to worship.

Goddess Parvathi comes to know about Ravana’s penance and fears that Lord Shiva might leave Kailasa and go to earth forever. Narada then suggests Goddess Parvathi that she seek Lord Vishnu’s help in this matter. Lord Shiva impressed by Ravana’s penance grants him a wish. Lord Vishnu then uses his magic to trick Ravana into asking Goddess Parvathi’s hand from lord Shiva instead of the Aatma Linga. Shiva grants Ravana’s wish. Goddess Parvathi then curses Lord Vishnu that he will also be seperated from his spouse the next time he is born as a human.

This curse laid the path for Sita’s abduction and the Ramayana.

 

The Ramayana (Rama and Ravana ) story in pictures – Yuddha Kand (10)

Rama and Ravana - The Ramayana

The final battle of Lanka and end of Ravana

The end of Ravana is approaching fast. He has lost his brothers and son Indrajit  in the battle. As a true warrior, he turns up on the battle field. He starts to fight with monkeys with vigour and determination. Meanwhile Rama and Laxmana have gathered forces to subdue the final resistance from King of Lanka.

Ravana comes to battle field
Ravana comes to battle field
Rama and Ravana - The Ramayana
Rama and Ravana – The Ramayana

Commanders of Ravana killed

He approaches Rama. Meanwhile Sugriva kills Virupaksha, another trusted commander of demon king. Ravana instructs Mahodara to fight with Rama and army, but Sugriva kills him also. Angada soon ends the resistance of Mahaparsva, aided by Jambavant.

Rama Laxmana and Ravana
Rama Laxmana and Ravana

Ravana fights two brothers

Soon, King of Lanka attacks Rama and Laxmana and a great battle starts. Ravana uses his mystic missile, which was struck down by Rama. Soon Visbhishana also joins the two brothers. Laxmana was hurt by Ravana and becomes unconscious.

Hanuman bringing sanjeevani booti to revive Laxman
Hanuman bringing sanjeevani booti to revive Laxman

Laxmana unconsious

Rama gets worried of Laxmana’s condition. He asks Sushena to look at his brother. Sushena instructs Hanumana to bring the herbs. Hanumana brings the whole mountain when he could not locate the herbs. He was then treated by Sushena and regained consciousness.

Fight between Rama and Ravana

The battle between Rama and Demon king starts. Indra sends a chariot, an armour, some arrows and a powerful spear to help Rama. A tumultuous and thrilling battle ensues between two great warriors. A spear hurled by Ravana is thwarted by a powerful spear (sent by Indra) of Rama. Then, Rama strikes his opponent horses with arrows. He also pierces the chest region and the forehead of Ravana with his fierce arrows. The king of Lanka gets severely hurt.

Rama starts cutting his head

Slowly but surely, Ravana strength starts to diminish. When Rama begins to cut off demon’s head, another head starts to crop up in its place. The fierce encounter continues thus for seven days.

Matali provides the final piece of advice

Seeing this, Matali explains to Rama that end of Ravana has come. He says to Rama – “O lord! You can employ a mystic missile presided over by Brahma, the lord of creation. The time for his destruction has come now, as expressed by the celestials.” Then, the valiant Rama, who was reminded thus by Matali, took hold of a blazing arrow, which was given by Brahma and which in turn was given to him by the glorious sage, Agastya earlier in the battle-field and which looked like a hissing serpent. Having been made formerly for Indra, the lord of celestials by Brahma, the lord of creation of infinite strength, it was bestowed in the past on the ruler of gods, who was desirous of conquering the three worlds.

Rama releases the arrow and kills Ravana

That arrow, released with great speed and which was capable of destroying the body, tore off the heart of that evil-minded Ravana.

Rama using Prasavapana on Ravana
Rama using Prasavapana on Ravana

 

Vibheeshana laments the loss of his great brother

Ravana killed by Rama
Ravana killed by Rama

Vibheeshana laments a lot, after seeing his brother lying dead on the battle-field. Rama comforts him, saying that a warrior killed in battle, need not be mourned. Vibheeshana describes the personality of his slain brother and his qualities to Rama and seeks permission of Rama to perform funeral rites to Ravana. Rama directs Vibheeshana to perform the obsequies to Ravana, his deceased brother.

The Ramayana (Rama, Ravana and Indrajit) story in pictures – Yuddha Kand (9)

Indrajit

The day of Indrajit and Laxmana

As the war progresses and Ravana keeps losing his warriors, the battle of Lanka seems to be heading towards its end. This article details about how Rama and Laxmana were helped by Vibheeshana in their quest of getting Sita back.

Ravana summons his mighty son Indrajit

Following the advice of Ravana, Indrajit joins the battle again. Indrajit was fighting behind the demons and was difficult to locate. Vibhishana advises to Hanumana to kill the demons so that Indrajit becomes visible.

Ravana dwells
Ravana dwells

Vibhishana takes Lakshmana to the place where indrajit is performing the sacrificial rite. He advises Lakshmana to destroy Indrajit even before he finishes the sacrificial rite at a banyan tree. Because if Indrajit had completed the ritual, he would become invincible.

Indrajit sees Vibhishana there and starts talking harsh words to him, saying that he has ditched him by bringing Lakshmana to that place. Vibhishana replies that because of Ravana’s vices, he has left him and joined Rama’s side. He further adds that Indrajit and his army will not survive under the range of Lakshmana’s arrows.

Indrajit becomes angry

Hearing these words from Vibheeshana, Ravana’ s son becomes red from anger and starts challenging Laxmana. Soon, a fierce battle between these two great warriors start.

The battle begins

Laxmana stretching five steel arrows upto the ear, dug them into the demon’s chest with a great speed. The arrows, blazing like serpents and feathered with fine plumes, shone like sun-rays in that demon’s chest. Struck with arrows by Laxmana, that enraged demon pierced in return three arrows well-directed towards Laxmana.

Indrajit
Indrajit

The fight continues

That fight between Laxmana, the foremost among men and Indrajit, the formost among demons, who wished to conquer one over the other in battle, was most terrific and tumultuous. Both were endowed with strength. Both were distinguished for their prowess. Both were exceedingly difficult to conquer and peerless in strength and courage.

Vibheeshana helps Laxmana

A lot of time lapsed in the meanwhile past the two warriors. They neither turned their back from the battle nor experienced any fatigue. Then, to provide some rest to Laxmana, Vibheeshana took his position in the battle field.

Vibheeshana kills many demons. He encouraged monkeys and urged them to carry on the combat. The monkeys started a furious attack on the demons. Hanumana also begins to destroy thousands of demons.

Indrajit and Hanumana
Indrajit and Hanumana

He rushes towards Laxmana and starts fighting. Rama’s  younger brother kills his charioteer. Monkeys kill Indrajit’s horses and destroys his chariot.

Laxmana Kills Indrajit

The battle finally reaches its conclusion. After fighting for so many hours the end is nearer. After his chariot was destroyed, Indrajit brought new chariot. Riding atop this, he attacks the monkeys. Monkeys sought help from Laxmana. They again indulge in fierce battle and Laxmana again destroys his chariot.

Indrajit - the mighty son of Ravana on his chariot
Indrajit – the mighty son of Ravana on his chariot

Indrajit strikes three arrows in Lakshmana’s forehead and Lakshmana strikes five arrows on his face. When Indrajit strikes Vibhishana with arrows, Vibhishana kills his horses. Finally, using a missile presided over by Indra the lord of celestials, Laxmana addressed a prayer on Lord Rama and discharged it towards Indrajit.

Indrajit’s head gets chopped off and falls to the ground. Witnessing his death, all the monkey-chiefs, Vibheeshana, Hanuma and Jambavant applaud Laxmana.

Laxmana treated by Sushena

After killing of Indrajit, Laxmana was treated by Sushena. Rama becomes delighted by the news whereas Ravana gets saddened by hearing the loss of his great son.  Rama further intensifies the battle and kills many demons. In Lanka, female lament the loss of monkeys. Finally, Ravana comes out to fight Rama.