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Ram Navmi festival

Festival of Ram Navmi

Ram Navmi, is a Hindu festival celebrating birth of Lord Ram.

Ram Navmi

Lord Ram birth is celebrated in Rama Navmi festival

Lord Ram is believed to be seventh incarnation of Lord Vishnu. Shri Ram Navmi is celebrated on ninth day(navmi) of chaitra month of hindu lunar year, in waxing moon (shukla paksha). This festival is celebrated with immense joy and enthusiasm all over India. In South India, this day is celebrated as wedding anniversary of Lord and Sita.

Legends around this festival

In Ramayan, Dasarath was king of Ayodhya. He had three wives, Kaushalya, Sumithra and Kaikeyi. King Dasarath was nat blessed with a child, so he and the people of Ayodhya were worried as they had no heir to their kingdom. Rishi Vasistha, suggested him to perform, Putra Kamesti Yagna, to get desired child.
King Dasarath agreed to this and went to meet Maharshi Rushya Shrungain, who gave his concent to solemanise the yagna. As a result of yagna, Fire God appeared and handed a bowl of payasam to king Dasarata, and asked him to give it to his wives. He gave one half to Kaushalya, other half to Kaikayi. And they two gave one half each of their payasam to Sumithra.
After few days all the three Queens conceived Dasratha’s child. On the ninth day (Navami) of Chaithra month of Hindu calendar , at noon Kaushlya gave birth to Lord Sri Ram, Kaikeyi gave birth to Bharath, and Sumithra gave birth to twins, Lakshman and Shatrughan.
This was a great day in Ayodhya and since then this day is calebrated as Ram Navmi festival.

Ram navmi festival celebrations

Temples are decorated, special hawans are performed, along with the chanting of vedic mantras.
Image of baby Ram is placed on cradle and is rocked by devotees, with singing of bhajan and kirtan. Many Hindu keep fast for the day followed by feasting in the evening. Along with LOrd Ram people also worship Sita (his wife), Laxman (his brother) and Hanuman (his ardent devotee). In the evening a special Ram Navmi procession is taken on street.
In South India, Sitarama Kalyanam, i.e.ceremonial wedding of the Lord Ram and Sita are performed by the priests at the temple. At the end of the day the deity is taken to a procession on the streets, with great fanfare and accompanied by group chanting of name of Rama.
The important celebrations on this festival take place at Ayodhya in Uttar Pradesh, Bhadrachalam in Andhra Pradesh and Rameswaram in Tamil Nadu, thronged by thousands of devotees, and Rathayatras, the chariot processions, also known as Shobha yatras of Rama, his wife Sita, brother Lakshmana and devotee Hanuman, are taken out at several places, including Ayodhya where thousands of people take a dip in the sacred river Sarayu.

Quiz on the Ramayana

Ramayana Quiz

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?

Lord Hanumana

The Ramayana story in pictures – Sunder kand (5) – Hanuman

Sunder Kand from The Ramayana (Hanuman)

Sunder Kand is the story of Hanuman finding Sita. The most important character for this chapter is of Hanuman’s.

Panchroopi bhagwan Hanuman

Panchroopi bhagwan Hanuman

Sunder Kand

After Jambvant praised and advised Hanuman, he started his journey to Lanka.  Mainak came forward to offer some rest, but he declined.

Hanuman and Mainak mountain

 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.

Sursa and Hanuman

 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.

Sinhika and Hanuman

 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 hits Lankini

Hanuman then searches for Sita in Lanka. He even checked Ravana’s palace.

Looking for Sita

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.

Sita at Ashok vatika

At the same time, Ravana came there and threatened Sita with dire consequences, if she refuses to marry him.

Ravana in ashok vatika – threatening Sita

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.

Trijata and Sita in Ashok Vatika

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.

Hanuman meets Sita at Ashok Vatika

With permission of Sita, Hanuman then ate fruits from Ashok Vatika and uprooted many trees.

Hanuman creating havoc in Ashok Vatika

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 and Hanuman (Brahmastra and Nagpaash)

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.

Lanka dahan by Hanuman

Hanuman returns to Sita and seeks permission to go back. Sita gives her ornaments and requests them to be presented before Lord Rama.

Hanuman departing from lanka after meeting Sita

Hanuman heads back to Kishkindha.

Hanuman returns from lanka

Hanuman returns from lanka

He meets Rama and Laxmana and tells them the whole story.

he meets Rama and Laxman after returning from lanka.

he meets Rama and Laxman after returning from lanka.

Then, Rama, Laxman and Hanuman, meet Sugriva and decide future course of action.

Meeting with Sugriva

Meeting with Sugriva

After knowing the whereabouts of Sita, Rama sets out to free her. He is accompanied by Vanara Sena.

Rama reaches with vanar sena at the sea shore

Rama reaches with vanar sena at the sea shore

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.

Mandodari persuades Ravana to release Sita

Mandodari persuades Ravana to release Sita

Even Vibheeshana, brother of Ravana, persuades Ravana. Ravana insults him.

Vibheeshana and Ravana

Vibheeshana and Ravana

Vibheeshana meets Rama and requests for his companionship. Rama accepts him as his friend.

Rama and Vibheeshana

Rama and Vibheeshana

Ravana sends his spy to Rama’s abode. Shuka, the messenger, was captured and Laxman releases him with a letter to Ravana.

Shuka and Ravana

Shuka and 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.

Sea god (Sagar) and Lord Rama

Sea god (Sagar) and Lord Rama

 

Recommended Reading:

Seven unknown facts about Karna

Unknown fact about Draupadi – Why she had five husbands

When incarnation of Lord Vishnu could not defeat his bhakta

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.

The story of Sampati

 Jatayu and Sampati

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.

The tale of two brothers

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.

 

Sampati - The vulture king

Sampati – The vulture king

 

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.

Sampati guiding monkeys

Sampati guiding monkeys

 

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.

51 curses and boons (Indian mythology)

Curses and Boons in Indian Mythology

Curses

Curses and boons are an integral part of mythological stories. Some popular and not so well known curses and boons are detailed. When it comes to curses, Karna from Mahabharata immediately comes to our mind. Similarly Sage Durvasa is also known to be a person, who cursed freely. But do we know, that Lord Rama and Shri Krishna were also cursed and Lakshman has to die as a consequence of a curse.  This article attempts to catalogue some famous and some unknown curses.

1. Curse on Lord Rama

Perhaps the most amazing unknown fact from The Ramayana. Tara (wife of Vali) cursed Rama so that he will soon lose Sita after he regains her. She also declared that Sita will return to the earth. This happened after Rama killed Vali when he was having a duel with Sugriva. Tara additionally cursed Rama that in his next birth, he will be killed by Vali. (Shri Krishna and the hunter).

Tara curses Lord Rama

 

2. Curse on Jaya and Vijaya by Sanath Kumaras

This can be regarded as the most defining curse in Hindu mythology, which resulted in birth of Ravana, Kumbhkarna, Hiranyakashyap and Hiranyaksha. Lord Vishnu took four avatars to relieve them of their curse. [complete story]

3. Curse on King Dashrath by parents of  Shravan Kumar

Parents of Shravan Kumar cursed Dashrath to suffer for his son, which came true due to boons given to Kaikeyi.

Shravan Kumar killed by Dashrath

Shravan Kumar killed by Dashrath

 

4. Sage Gautam’s curse to Ahilya

Gautam discovered an affair between Indra and his wife. He cursed ahilya to turn into a stone. She was later liberated by Lord Rama. This story is available in Balkand of ramayana.

Rama and Ahalya

Rama and Ahalya

 

5. Sage Gautam’s curse to Indra

Indra was cursed with one thousand female genitals (Sahasrayoni). Later she reverted this curse into a boon and Indra got thousand eyes. Indra is also known as Sahasraaksha.

6. Curse on Hanuman

Hanuman has been very mischievous in his childhood. Some sages, irritated by Hanuman’s exploits, placed a mild curse on him by which he became unable to remember his own ability unless reminded by another person. The curse is highlighted in Kishkindha Kand and Sunder Kand, when Jambavantha reminds Hanuman of his abilities and encourages him to go and find Sita.

Hanuman departing for Lanka in search of Sita when Ravana abducted her from Dandaka forests.

Hanuman departing for Lanka in search of Sita

 

7. Curse on Anjana – mother of Hanuman

She was an apsara but took birth as a vanar. Once she threw some fruits on a meditating vanar, who was a sage doing penance. The sage cursed her to born become a vanar the moment she fells in love. She was absolved of this curse later through Brahma’s boon.

8. Curse of Narada on Vishnu

Narada cursed Lord Vshnu to become dependent on Vanara. This was fulfilled when Hanuman helped Lord Rama in the Ramayana.

9. Gandhari to Shri Krishna

Gandhari held Krishna responsible for Mahabharat war and cursed that his end will be ordinary. She also cursed that his clan will also destroyed by infighting. Accordingly, her curse came true after 36 years of Mahabharata war.

10. The curse of sages (Vishwamitra, Durvasa, Vashista, and Narada) to Samba

Samba, Lord Krishna’s son and his friends once have joked with sages. They cursed him to give birth to a iron lump of mass which will bring the destruction of the entire Yadava race.

11. Shri Krishna’s curse to Samba

Shri Krishna curse to Samba (his own son) to be affected by leprosy.

12 Shri Krishna to Ashwaththama

After he tried to kill Abhimanyu’s son (Parikshit) with a deadly weapon brahmastra, Krishna cursed him to live forever.

13. Urvashi’s curse to Arjuna

To become a eunuch when he refused an alliance with her. Later, she diluted this for a year which he used in agyaatvaas. [related link]

14. Yudhisthira to womankind

That they could not hide anything from anyone. This was done after he came to know from Kunti that Karna was his elder brother who was slain in the war of Mahabharata. Kunti tried the mantra given by Sage Durvasa to test its effectiveness. This would have caused embarassment to her, so she had to let Karna go.

15. Parshuram to Karna

This is quite famous incident of a teacher and the student. Parshuram cursed Karna that he would forget the mantra when he would need most. There is a whole article on curses on Karna.

Parshurama sleeping in Karna's lap

Parshurama sleeping in Karna’s lap

 

16 Bhoomi devi to Karna

Owing to an incident where Karna cause distress to Bhoomi devi, She cursed him. In the battle of Mahabharat, the wheel of his chariot got stuck.

17 Brahmin curse to Karna

To die as a helpless as he has killed a cow. Karna had his more than share of curses. Details can be read on this article which is all about curses on Karna.

18 Curse of Vasishtha on Vasus

 Vasishtha cursed vasus to be born on earth as mortals since they have abducted his cow, Nandini. This curse is also related with birth of Bhishma.

19. Rishi Kindam’s curse to Pandu

Pandu accidentally killed Sage Kindam alongwith his wife. He cursed Pandu to die a similar death. Pandu died alongwith Madri, his second wife.

20. The curse on King Yayati by Shukracharya

Sage & Guru Shukracarya cursed King yayati to go as a Old man as Yayati secretly wedded Sharmishtha. (She was Devayani’s sister.) He was allowed to exchange his state from someone who was willing to do. Yayati’s all sons refused, but Puru agreed and he later became his successor.

Shukracharya curse to Yayati

 

21 Shiva’s curse to Brahma

Shiva decided that Brahma would not be worshipped as he had lied to him [complete story]. Another associated curse is on ketaki flower that it would not be used in worship.

22 Saraswati’s curse to Brahma

Brahma not being worshipped is associated with Saraswati’s curse too. He was cursed after being irritated with undue advances from Brahma.

23 Brahma’s curse to Shiva

Originally Brahma has five heads. Once Parvati mistook him for Shiva and when she realized she told this to Shiva. Shiva removed Brahma’s fifth head as Kal Bhairav. Brahma cursed Shiva that the fifth head will be attached to Shiva and will cause him hunger. The  fifth head must be attached to his hand itself and hereafter Shiva must be affected having hunger, having no sleep. Parvati sought Vishnu’s advise and got rid of the fifth head ‘Kabala’.

Shiva as Bhairava

Shiva as Bhairava

 

24 Ganesha’s curse to Moon

Ganesha cursed moon for him being impolite. The whole story is available here.

25 Narada’s curse to sons of Kuber

Narada cursed Kuber’s sons to become trees. They were liberated by Shri Krishna.  Nalakuvara and Maṇigriva were Kubera’s sons. Once they were taking bath in water with their wives naked. Sage Narada came that way. The ladies took their garments after seeing the sage. But the sons of Kubera ignored him. Narada gave a lecture on the false prestige and madness after drinking liquor by the rich and influenced. Then Narada cursed them to become twin trees to be released later by Lord Krishna.

Sage Narada

Sage Narada

 

26 Vasishtha’s curse to Satyavrata

He is popularly known as Trishanku and cursed with a debilitating disease. He was cursed because he stole the cow of Sage Vasishtha and killed it. He then ate it later. But he took care of Sage Vishwamitra’s family, Vishwamitra wanted to send him to heaven.

27 Curse of Radha to Sridhama

To be born as in a low family. Sridhama also cursed Radha that she will be separated from Krishna for 100 years.

28 Curse on Shantanu and Ganga by Brahma

Shantanu and Ganga were celestial beings who had also been cursed to be born on earth as human beings.  Shantanu was King Mahabhishak and he and Ganga were cursed by Brahma for their indecencies in their past lives.

29  Saraswati’s curse to Laxmi

To be born as a tree. Saraswati as a result of Ganga’s curse would become the wife of Brahma. Ganga due to Saraswati’s curse would become a holy River to demolish the sins of those who take baths on her waters.

30 Curse of Kabandha

Rama meets the rakshasa Kabandha and kills him, freeing him from a curse. The freed Kabandha advises Rama to seek the help of Sugriva to find Sita.

Boons

Similar to curses, there are interesting boons which are closely related to curses. I am sure you will enjoy some of the known and unknown boons.

31 Meghnaad’s boon

He was granted boon by Brahma that he would never be won over in any battle, until his Yagna (fire-worship) of his native goddess Nikumbala was disturbed and destroyed. Lakshman disturbed his yagna and finally killed him in the battle.

32 Jayadrath father’s boon

Whosoever causes the head of his son to fall on the earth, his head would blow into thousand pieces.One day Jayadratha met his father Vridhakshtra who was a sage. He asked his father to grant him a boon by which he could choose the time of his death just like Shantanu who gave a similar boon to Devavrata (i.e. Bhishma). He said that who ever caused the head of Jayadrath to fall on the ground, will be killed immediately by having his own head burst into hundred pieces. When Arjuna beheaded Jayadrath, he ensure that his head falls in the lap of his meditating father.

Jayadratha killed by Arjuna

Jayadratha killed by Arjuna

 

33 Lord Shiva’s boon to Jayadrath

Jayadrath had another boon that he could hold all the Pandavas for a day in battle, except for Arjuna. This proved to be undoing of Abhimanyu when Arjuna was not around in the battle and Drona formed a chakravyuha.

34 Bhishma from Shantanu

Shantanu blessed his son that he would chose his own time of death. This was following the Bhishma pratigya taken by Devvrata.

Bhishma_pratigya_nishaadraaj_mahabharat-indian-mythology

Bhishma taking oath for being unmarried – Bhishma Pratigya

 

35 Gandhari’s boon to Duryodhana

The whole story is narrated here.

36 Durvasa to Kunti

Birth of Pandavas. Kunti served sage Durvasa for a year and he became very pleased with her. He has given her a mantra. Using this, she could call any god at anytime who would assist her in begetting a son. Kunti used this mantra four times and Madri couple of times.

37 Sage Parashar’s boon to Satyavati

The boon of fragrance.

38 Boon of Vali

Ram has to kill him in disguise because of a boon. While in fight, opponents half strength would be transferred to him. This story is also available in the link given above.

39 Parshuram’s boon to Karna

Parshuram cursed Karna which resulted in him being defeated in the Mahabharata. But Parshuram also blessed Karna to have everlasting fame.

40 Boon to Hiranyaksha by Brahma

 Once Hiranyaksha did a lot of austerities so that Lord Brahma would give him a boon. He asked and received a boon that no god, demon, beast or human could ever kill him. He was killed by Varaha avatar of Lord Vishnu.

41 Hiranyakashyap’s boon

Hiranyakashyap had a similar boon. And his boon also included that he would not be killed in day or night, inside or outside a house, nor by a human or beast. He was killed by Narsingh avatar – a Vishnu dashavatar. His son Prahlad was a great devotee of Lord Vishnu and he summoned his lord after Hiranyakashyap challenged him that where is his lord?

42 Shri Krishna granted boon to Shishupal’s mother Shrutishrava

Shri Krishna promised to his aunt to forgive hundred misdeeds of Shishupala before killing him.

43 Shiva’s boon to Arjuna

The boon which Arjuna is said to have received was called Pashupata, Shiva’s most powerful weapon.

Lord Shiva giving Pashupata astra to Arjuna - Mahabharat

Lord Shiva giving Pashupata astra to Arjuna – Mahabharat

 

44 Shiva’s boon to Ganesha

Shiva granted Ganesha a boon that before beginning of any undertaking or task people would worship Lord Ganesh. Thus the reason for worship of ganesha before start of any work.

45 Boon of Madhu and Kaitabh

These demons had a boon that they would only die when they want it. Lord Vishnu killed them eventually.

46 Brahma’s boon to Anjana

Anjana was initially cursed to live as a vanaar, Brahma told her that she would be absolved of the curse if she gives birth to a incarnation of Lord Shiva.

47  Boons to Hanuman

Hanuman was blessed with two boons which were useful in Sunder Kand.

First was given to him by Brahma that no weapon could harm him. When Brahmastra was used on him, he let himself captured to honour the greatest weapon brahmastra.

Second was given to him by Surya. He was given Laghima and Garima (to be able to attain the smallest or to attain the biggest form). With the helo of these, he went past Sursa.

48 Karna’s boon to Kunti

Karna assured Kunti that  will not use a weapon twice against Arjuna. He later did not use the Naga astra. He also promised Kunti that she will have five sons, so he did not killed Pandavas other than Arjuna, though he could do so.

49. Kaikeyi’s boon by Dashrath

Dashrath granted couple of boons to Kaikeyi during Dev Asur sangram. Dashrath was deeply wounded and he was tended by Kaikeyi. She claimed two boons that Dasharatha had long ago granted her, which resulted in Lord Rama’s vanvaas.

50 Shiva’s boon to Draupadi for desired husband(s)

Draupadi wanted to have a husband with fourteen qualities. Shiva said this is difficult. Upon insistence, he said that she will get five husbands. He gave another boon to her.

51 Draupadi’s boon to remain as a virgin

Shiva granted a boon that she would regain virginity as soon as she takes a bath in the morning. Thus she was able to become the wife of five pandavas at the same time.

 

The Ramayana story in pictures – Kishkindha kand (4)

Kishkindha kand from The Ramayana

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 and Rama

Shabri advises them to go further southwards to Pampa lake and to Kishkindha where they would get help.

Shabri advises Rama to go towards Kishkindha

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 in the guise of brahmana, but Rama identifies him

Hanuman fell upon his feet.

Hanuman and Rama

 

 

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.

Ram reached Sugriva

 

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.

Battle between Vali and Sugriva

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 humbled by Rama

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.

 

Tara and Ram – The Ramayana story

Sugriva crowned as king. Angad (Vali’s son) was anointed as the heir.

Sugriva made king of Kishkindha

Rama also taught him nuances of statesmanship.

Rama anointed Sugriva as king of Kishkindha

He advised Sugreev to rule justly. Then Sri Rama along with Laxmana went to live at Pravarshan Mountain.

Ram and Laxman leaving from Kishkindha to caves

Few months passed. Sugriva forgot his promise. Rama gets restless and advises Laxman to visit Kishkindha.

Laxman threatens to destroy Kishkindha after Sugriva did not keep his promise.

Tara asks Sugriva to help Rama and Laxman.

Tara advises Sugriva to help 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.

Hanuman, Ram and Laxman

Rama blessed them for successful accomplishment of their mission. He also gave his ring to Hanumana.

Rama giving ring to Hanuman

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.

Vanara searching Sita

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.

Sampati tells about Sita whereabouts

When Jambvant saw that there was nobody who could cross over the ocean, he praised and urged Hanumana  to cross the ocean. Hanuman had a curse that he would only realize his strength and capabilities when told by someone.

Jambvant urges Hanuman go to Lanka.

Jambvant praises Hanuman

 

When Hanumana listened to Jambvant he realized his latent strength. His body expanded like a mountain. Hanumana then sought Jambvant advice.

Hanuman taking viraat roopa (form)

Jambvant instructed him to just return back after seeing Sita in Lanka. He said that the rest would be accomplished by Sri Rama.

Hanuman departing for Lanka in search of Sita

 

 

51 facts – The Ramayana

Interesting facts from the Ramayana

Some more facts added in 2015, July

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.

Lord Rama

Lord Rama

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.

Laxman draws Laxmanrekha

Laxman draws Laxmanrekha

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.

Lord Rama breaking Shiva Dhanush (bow) – The Ramayana

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.

vali-sugriva-rama-the-ramayana-indian-mythology

Battle between Vali and Sugriva – Rama about to kill Vali

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.

Reading suggestion

51 facts – Mahabharata

 

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.

Jambvant praises Hanuman

Jambvant praises Hanuman

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.

Hanuman and Sursa

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.

Sudarshan chakra

Sudarshan chakra

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).

Kumbhakarna – The Ramayana

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.

Rama using Prasavapana on Ravana

Rama using Prasavapana on Ravana

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.

Reading suggestion – 51 facts from Mahabharat

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