Festival of Ram Navmi
Ram Navmi, is a Hindu festival celebrating birth of Lord Ram.
Ram Navmi, is a Hindu festival celebrating birth of Lord Ram.
The Ramayana has been written many times. First instance of this was written by Sage Valmiki who was initially a robber. Later, he chronicled the life events of Rama, who is an incarnation of Vishnu, which is called Shrimad Valmiki Ramayana.
1. __________was the vaidya(doctor) who healed Lakshman.
2. Meghnaad was performing yagna to please the goddess ___________.
3. How Rama identified Vali from Sugriva, when the two brothers were fighting?
4. Who saved Rama and Laxman from Naagpasha?
5. Sita was imprisoned in __________ vatika.
6. Ravana contained amrit in his navel. Rama evaporated this by using _____________ weapon.
7. Who was Ravana’s wife?
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?
10. There is one character in the Ramayana, who is also present in Mahabharata. Who is he?
11. Laxman was an incarnation of ____________.
12. First shloka of The Ramayana written by Valmiki is Maa Nishada Pratistham… This happened when birds was killed by a hunter and Valmiki complained with above shloka. Which were those birds?
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?
20. Who was the mother of Sita?
21. Rama, Sita and Laxman lived in ____________ forests during their exile.
22. 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?
23. in Bal Kand, Rama let the wife of Sage Gautam come out of a curse. Who was she?
Sunder Kand is the story of Hanuman finding Sita. The most important character for this chapter is of Hanuman’s.
After Jambvant praised and advised Hanuman, he started his journey to Lanka. Mainak came forward to offer some rest, but he declined.
On his way, first came Sursa. She was asked to test Hanuman’s skills and wisdom. She said that everyone has to pass through her mouth before one can resume its journey. Hanuman first enlarged his size.
In reply, Sursa also increased her mouth. Suddenly he reduced his size and entered her mouth and came out of her nose. Sursa blessed him for his skills. By using his wisdom, he proceeded further.
Soon, another hurdle appeared. A demon caught his shadow. The demon was Sinhika. Hanuman had to overcome her before he could proceed. She managed to swallow him, but soon enough, he killed her and restarted his journey towards lanka.
Hanuman reaches the shores of Lanka. He found that many demons are guarding Lanka. He decides to enter lanka in night but ran into Lankini. Hanuman hit her hard. Lankini understands that end of Ravana is near as she was told by Brahma that when a monkey is cause of her pain, then it is about time. She praises his devotion towards Lord Rama.
Hanuman then searches for Sita in Lanka. He even checked Ravana’s palace.
Then he came to another palace, which was Vibhishan’s. He met him. Vibhishan told him about Sita whereabouts. He goes to Ashok vatika and observes Sita.
At the same time, Ravana came there and threatened Sita with dire consequences, if she refuses to marry him.
Trijata named demon consoles Sita. She said that she had seen in her dreams that end of Ravana is close. But Sita is still perturbed.
Hanuman then dropped the ring given by Lord Rama before Sita. Sita becomes happy by seeing and recognizing the ring of Lord Rama.
He then came before Sita and explained how he has come to lanka and ashok vatika. He pacifies Sita that Lord will come soon and then it will be end of all the problems.
With permission of Sita, Hanuman then ate fruits from Ashok Vatika and uprooted many trees.
He killed many demons including Akshaykumara. They went to Ravana for help. Ravana sent his warriors but they were defeated by Hanuman. Finally, Meghnaad used Brahmastra and used Nagpaash to tie him.
Meghnaad then brought Hanuman to the Ravana’s court. Hanuman told Ravana to return Sita to Rama and live in peace. Instead, he asked to burn his tail so that a lesson can be taught to him. Hanuman made his tail become bigger. Lot of oil and clothes were required to cover the tail. Finally the tail was set to fire. Hanuman used laghima and became small. Lanka is thus burnt.
Hanuman returns to Sita and seeks permission to go back. Sita gives her ornaments and requests them to be presented before Lord Rama.
Hanuman heads back to Kishkindha.
He meets Rama and Laxmana and tells them the whole story.
Then, Rama, Laxman and Hanuman, meet Sugriva and decide future course of action.
After knowing the whereabouts of Sita, Rama sets out to free her. He is accompanied by Vanara Sena.
Demons report this to Mandodari. Mandodari reasons with ravana as Hanuman, the messenger of Rama has done so much damage. Pregnant demons suffer from miscarriage when they think of Hanuman. So this is not wise to keep Sita. Ravana does not heed to the advice.
Even Vibheeshana, brother of Ravana, persuades Ravana. Ravana insults him.
Vibheeshana meets Rama and requests for his companionship. Rama accepts him as his friend.
Ravana sends his spy to Rama’s abode. Shuka, the messenger, was captured and Laxman releases him with a letter to Ravana.
Rama requests Sea to give him way. When the sea does not listen, Rama intends to use Brahmastra. The Sagar yields and advises to consult Nal and Neela to find a way to Lanka.
Do you know that Jambavant has seen a number of avatars (incarnations) of Lord Vishnu. He even got his daughter married to Shri Krishna and there is an interesting story of his fight with Lord Krishna. You can find this story on this blog.
We all have heard of Jatayu. Jatayu is famously known in the Ramayana as he lost his life while saving Sita. But his lesser known brother, proved to more important as he helped in tracing exactly where Sita was. This brother was Sampati.
Daksha and Panchajani had sixty daughters. Thirteen of these were married to sage Kashyap. Vinata, who was married to Kashyap had two sons, Aruna and Garuda. Aruna had two sons Sampati and Jatayu. Aruna is the Charioteer of Surya. Sampathi and Jatayu, when young, used to compete as to who could fly higher. On one such instance Jatayu flew so high that he was about to get seared by the sun’s flames. Sampati saved his brother by spreading his own wings and thus shielding Jatayu from the hot flames. In the process, Sampati himself got injured and lost his wings. As a result, Sampati lived wingless for the rest of his life.
During Kishkindha Kand, Sugriva ordered a bunch of monkeys led by Jambvant and Hanuman to search for Devi Sita. They came near to the abode of Sampati. Sampati became very pleased to see such a large gathering of the monkeys. He thought that these monkeys have been a gift of God, so that his hunger could be satisfied.
The monkeys were frightened to see the giant Sampati. Jambvant thought that how would these monkey, who are terrified by a vulture, fight against the mighty Ravana.
Just about that time, Angad was talking about Jatayu. He said – No one has ever been as blessed as Jatayu, who gave up his life for the cause of Sri Rama.
When Sampati heard about his brother Jatayu, he requested them to tell about Jatayu. After learning what happened to him, Sampati requested them to take him towards the sea, as he wanted to offer tilanjali (offerings of sesame seeds) in honour of his dead brother. Then Sampati told the story of two brothers.
“Once both of us had a flying competition. While flying, we went higher and higher in the sky. Soon the intense heat of the sun began to torment us. I, therefore spread my wings to cover Jatayu who was not able to bear the heat of the sun. Thus I managed to save Jatayu but but got my wings burnt and fell down on the earth at the seashore.
A sage Chandrama felt pity on my state and preached me on the futility of arrogance. He also said that in the times of Treta, almighty Lord Vishnu will take incarnation to slay the evil. His wife Sita would be abducted by the demon king Ravana. Lord would send messengers in search of his wife, and you would get a chance to meet him and your wings would be healed then.
Then the sage told me that Ravana, the abductor of Sita, would be residing in Lanka. He also instructed me to tell the Lord that he would find Sita mourning in Ashok vatika. Sampati’s wings were healed. After telling the monkeys where Sita was,He flew away advising them to sort out means to reach Lanka.
The search party was again in crisis. Though they came to know where Sita was, but now the problem was how to reach her. Jambvant said since he had grown old, so it was impossible for him to reach Lanka in one leap. But he knew the Hanuman had the powers to achieve this feat.
The story of Hanuman reaching lanka and back is known as Sunder Kand.
Searching for Sita, Rama and Laxman Shabri’s ashram. Shabri offers fruits which have been tested by her so the Lord does not get a bitter fruit.
Shabri advises them to go further southwards to Pampa lake and to Kishkindha where they would get help.
On Shabri’s advise, Rama reached Kishkindha while looking for Sita. Sugriva was sceptical of the two brothers and he asked Hanuman to assess their intentions. Hanuman disguised himself as a brahmin but Rama identified him due to his chain around the neck.
Hanuman fell upon his feet.
He showed them the ornaments and jewels which were thrown by Sita while she was abducted. Rama recognises them of Sita’s.
Hanuman took them to Sugriva. Sugriva was driven out by Vali. Vali also took Sugriva’s wife. Rama befriended Sugriva. Rama promised to help him.
Vali had a boon which made him unconquerable. Sugriva promised that he will help in finding Sita. Ram asks Sugriva to invite Vali for a fight. He also asked him to wear a garland because both brothers looked identical.
Rama kills Vali by piercing an arrow through his heart
Vali accuses Rama of wrongdoing. Rama explains that he has committed the crime of abducting his brother’s wife. And Kishkindha, a state of Bharat’s kingdom, lies in his jurisdiction. His crime was unforgiveable, so he had to execute this task of killing him.
It is said that Rama promised Vali to give him a chance to avenge his unjust murder. Vali is believed to be born as Jara, the hunter, who became the cause of Shri Krishna’s death.
Vali understood and Rama forgives him.
Tara (Vali’s wife) is inconsolable. Tara invokes the power of her chastity and curses Rama so that he will soon lose Sita after he regains her. She declares that Sita will return to the earth. Tara additionally curses Rama that in his next birth, he will be killed by Vali. Rama pacifies her.
Sugriva crowned as king. Angad (Vali’s son) was anointed as the heir.
Rama also taught him nuances of statesmanship.
He advised Sugreev to rule justly. Then Sri Rama along with Laxmana went to live at Pravarshan Mountain.
Few months passed. Sugriva forgot his promise. Rama gets restless and advises Laxman to visit Kishkindha.
Tara asks Sugriva to help Rama and Laxman.
Sugriva instructed Hanumana to send the messenger in all directions and to bring the news of Sita within fifteen days. Angad told sugriva that Hanuman can only find Sita. Sugriva asks Hanuman to search. Hanumana then gathered all the monkeys and went to Sri Rama to seek his permission.
Rama blessed them for successful accomplishment of their mission. He also gave his ring to Hanumana.
Now Hanuman and his army of monkeys moved in search of Sita. They searched Sita in the caves of every mountain but did not find her.
Jambvant consoled Angad saying that Rama was not an ordinary human being. He also said him not to worry, as everything would be resolved by Sri Rama’s blessings.
They reach seashore. At the seashore Sampati ( brother of Jatayu) bumped into Hanuman. He told him about Sita and she is in Lanka.
When Hanumana listened to Jambvant he realized his latent strength. His body expanded like a mountain. Hanumana then sought Jambvant advice.
Jambvant instructed him to just return back after seeing Sita in Lanka. He said that the rest would be accomplished by Sri Rama.
Lord Hanuman is one of the 7 chiranjeevs. These immortals will live till the beginning of the next Satya Yuga.
The stripes on the back of squirrels is supposed to be Ram‘s caress for their dedication to help construct the bridge to Lanka.
Ravana once broke his arm to construct a musical instrument to sing songs of praise for Shiva. It was called the Ravan Hatta. While Ravan lay dying Ram asked Laxmana to go up to him to learn all that Ravana had to offer since Ravan was a Brahman.
Hanuman rejected a pearl necklace gifted by to him by Sita saying “I don’t accept anything that does not contain Ram.” To prove his point he ripped his chest to show the presence of Ram in his heart.
Sita’s name while in exile was Vaidehi.
Vashishtha and Vishvamitra both were Ram’s gurus. And both hated each other at one point of time.
Lakshman is the avatar of Shesha Naga. The mount of Vishnu.
The Ramayana, the most read epic in Hindu mythology contains some very interesting facts, known and unknown. The ramayana is not only the story of Rama, but this is also a story of other people also. For instance, Laxman, Bharat and Hanuman. We can’t forget Sita, Urmila, Vibheeshana alongwith Kaikeyi and Manthra.
1. Author of The Ramayana is Sage Valmiki. There are many more versions of this epic are available by various writers. Valmiki’s version is thus also known as Valmiki Ramayana. Another famous version is by Tulsidas, known as Ramcharitmanas.
2. This great epic is composed of rhyming couplets called ‘shlokas’, employing a complex meter called ‘anustup’. These verses are grouped into individual chapters called ‘sargas’, wherein a specific event or intent is told. The ‘sargas’ are again grouped into books called ‘kands’.
3 The whole story of the Ramayana is written in seven chapters, also known as kands. These are
Bal Kand – Rama’s boyhood.
Ayodhya Kand – Rama’s life in Ayodhya until his banishment.
Aranya Kand – Rama’s life in the forest and his abduction by Ravana.
Kishkindha Kand – Rama’s stay at Kishkindha, the capital of his monkey ally Sugriva.
Sundar Kand – Rama’s journey to Sri Lanka
Yudh Kand or Lanka Kand – Rama’s battle with Ravana, the recovery of Sita and their return to Ayodhya.
Uttar Kand – Rama’s life as king in Ayodhya, the birth of his two sons, Sita’s test of innocence and return to her mother, and Rama’s demise. This kand completes the story of the ramayana.
4 Rama ( the principal character of the ramayana), and his brothers were born as the result of putra-kameshti yagya by Dashratha. At the end of the yagya, a bowl of dessert was given to Dashratha, which was distributed among his wives. Sumitra was fed twice, so she gave birth to twins. Dasharatha was born in the line of Ikshvaku (“the first king of the Ikshvaku dynasty and founder of the Solar Dynasty of Kshatriyas in Vedic civilization in ancient India”).
5. Rama is the seventh incarnation of Lord Vishnu, a dashavatar.
6 In their childhood, Rama and Laxman helped Vishwamitra and took care of Maricha and Subahu. Rama points his bow at the two, and with one arrow kills Subahu, and with the other arrow flings Mareecha thousands of miles away into the ocean
7. Sita is considered to be an incarnation of Goddess Laxmi. She is also believed to be the daughter of Bhoomi devi (earth).
8. Laxman or Lakshman is an incarnation of Sheshnaag or Adi Shesha. He also accompanied Lord Vishnu as Balrama in the eighth incarnation of Lord Vishnu.
9. Laxman never slept during the Rama’s exile. He is also known as Gudakesh, meaning, the one who has defeated “sleep”.
10. Laxman killed three sons of Ravana. While his killing of Meghnaad is more popular, other sons of Ravana were Prahast and Atikay.
11. Lord Shiva explained that Laxman would have escaped Shakti easily, but to respect the weapon, he took this on his chest.
12. The laxmanrekha episode is not mentioned in the Valmiki Ramayana. This is mentioned by Mandodri in Lanka kand in Ramcharitamanas.
13. Laxman was the twin brother of Shatrughana. Their mother was Sumitra.
14. Lord Rama left this earth by taking the Jal Samadhi in Sarayu river.
15. During Sita Swayamvara, Rama broken the bow of Shiva to win her hand.
16. Parshurama challenged Rama to string the bow of Vishnu. Which Lord Rama easily did and asked him to tell him to where he should release the arrow. Parshuram realized that Rama is no ordinary man. This is worth noting that both of these warriors were incarnation of Lord Vishnu.
17. The shiva dhanush was easily moved by Sita during her childhood. King Janak observed this and this incident set the condition of Sita swayamvar in the Ramayana.
18. Lord Rama helped Sugriva to get back the kingdom of Kishkindha. He helped Sugriva to defeat his brother, Vali. He later married Tara, Vali’s wife. Tara is one of the Panchkanya. Mandodari, the wife of Ravana, is also a panchkanya from the Ramayana.
19 Rama, Laxman and Sita spent the vanvaas in Dandakaranya forests.
20 Laxman’s wife was Urmila. There is not much written about her, but she also made a supreme sacrifice while staying back in Ayodhya, while Laxman accompanied Rana and Sita for vanvaas. Urmila was Sita’s younger sister. Urmila slept both his and her shares of sleep so that Laxman remained awake protecting Rama and Sita. She slept for the whole period of exile (14 years) and only woke up when Laxmana returned to Ayodhya.
21 Tara was an apsara produced from the churning of ocean. During the churning, Vali was from gods side.
22. Jambavantha was created by Brahma, to assist Rama in his struggle against Ravana. During a duel with Ravana, he hit Ravana and Ravana became unconscious. He also reminded Hanuman of his prowess, so he could cross the ocean and visit Lanka.
23. Vali was famous for the boon that he had received, according to which anyone who came before him lost half his strength to Vali, thereby making Vali invulnerable to any enemy.
24. Vali had defeated Ravana as well. Once Ravana called Vali for a fight. He took Ravana in his tail and took him around all the world. Humbled, Ravana called for a truce.
25. Hanuman, because of boons from Surya, laghima and garima, could take various forms. He used them to defeat Sursa, Lankini, Cat in the Ramayana.
26. Hanuman slain the demon Kalanemi, while fetching sanjeevani herb. Kalanemi was sent by Ravana.
27. Hanuman also defied Sun from rising before time as it would have killed Laxman.
28. Hanuman was also shot by Bharat while flying over Ayodhya. Hanuman accepted the arrow as Lord Rama was written over it. Since he was shot on a leg, he had a limp.
29. Shatrughan is supposed to be the incarnation of Vishnu’s conch. Shatrughna was married to Shrutakeerti, the daughter of King Kusadhbojan and his wife. Shrutakeerti was the cousin of Sita, daughter of King Janaka.
30 Shatrughana killed Lavanasura, a demon who was the son of Madhu. It is believed that Madhu is where Mathura is situated today.
31. Bharat was the husband to Mandavi, daughter of King Janaka’s brother Kushadhvaja and thus a cousin of Sita, who was wife of Rama. They had two sons, Taksha and Pushka. Thus, in the Ramayana, wives of all brothers were related.
32. Bharat is considered to be born in the aspect of the Sudarshana Chakra, the most famous of Vishnu’s Panchayudhas.
33. Ravana’s grandfather was Pulastya, one of the seven great sages or Saptarishis. His father was himself a great sage Vishrava.
34. His mother was the princess of Daityas. Her name was Kaikesi. Kaikesi father was Sumali. Ravana was half Brahmin and half asura.
35. Kaikesi chose Vishrava as her husband in quest to mother a son who was incomparable.
36. Vishrava was the father of Kubera. Thus Ravana was the half brother of Kubera. Ravana conquered Sri Lanka from Kubera and became the King of Lanka.
37. Ravana was also an excellent veena player and the sign of his flag had a picture of veena on it.
38. Ravana had four brothers. Vibhishana, Kumbhakarna and Ahiravan and Mahiravan. Khara and Dushan are also believed to be his brothers.
39. Kumbhakarna was considered pious, intelligent and brave that Indra was jealous of him. Along with his brothers, Ravana andVibhishana, he performed a major yajnaand penance for Lord Brahma. When the time came for asking a boon (blessing) from Brahma, his tongue was tied by goddess Saraswati (acting on Indra’s request). So instead of asking “Indraasana” (seat of Indra), he asked for “Nidraasana” (bed for sleeping).
40. Kumbhakarna had two sons, Kumbha and Nikumbha, who too fought in the war against Rama and were killed.
41. Ravana also asked for absolute invulnerability from and supremacy over gods, heavenly spirits, other rakshas, serpents, and wild beasts. He did not ask for protection from mortal men, as he did not think that they would cause him any harm.
42. Rama and Laxman were abducted by Ahiravan. Ahiravan was the brother of Ravana and king of patala (netherworld). The two brothers were saved by Hanuman.
43. Following the capture of Lanka, Ravana pleased Shiva with his penance. Shiva said to pinned Ravana with his toe, but he offered his ten heads to appease Shiva. Pleased with his resilience and devotion, Shiva gave to him the divine sword Chandrahas
44. Ravana was cursed by Nandi that Lanka would be destroyed by a monkey. Later Hanuman put Lanka into flames.
45 Hanuman defeated his son Makardhwaj when he was guarding Rama and Laxman and rescued the two brothers.
46. Hanuman killed Ahiravan and Mahiravan by taking his panchroopi form.
47. Ravana did severe penance to appease Brahma. Brahma blessed him with nectar which could keep him alive as long as it lasted.
48 Vibheeshana told this about to Rama when in the battlefield, everytime Rama cut his head, another head sprang up. On his advise, Rama first dried the nectar using Prasvapana and later killed him. This is important to know that the ramayana puts importance to Vibheeshana, who left his brother and helped the cause of Dharma.
49. Sita remained with Agni when Ravana abducted her. When Ravana came to kidnap mother Sita and she saw him, she took shelter of Agni. The fire-god covered the body of mother Sita, and in this way she was protected from the hands of Ravana. The fire-god, Agni, took away the real Sita and brought her to the place of Parvati, goddess Durga. An illusory form of mother Sita was then delivered to Ravana. The original Sita went to the abode of the fire-god. During Agnipariksha, illusory Sita entered the fire. At that time Agni brought the original Sita from his abode and delivered her to Lord Ramachandra.
50. Sita summoned Bhoomi devi to take her back after completing the Agni pariksha.
51. Rama and all his brothers left their abode by taking Jal samadhi in Sarayu river. This completes the story of the Ramayana.
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