The Ramayana

The Ramayana Summary

Born during an age when the demon Ravana terrorized the world, Rama is the virtuous, wise, and powerful prince of Ayohya. As a young man, he is able to accomplish what no other man has ever done: he lifts and strings the bow of Siva, and by so doing her earns the right to marry the beautiful Sita.

Just when he is about to ascend the throne of Ayodhya, his father Dasaratha is forced to exile him for fourteen years to the forest due to a vow made long ago. Unruffled, Rama accepts his exile; his wife Sita and his loyal brother Lakshmana accompany him. In the forest, the princely brothers kill many demons and visit many wise men and women.

The evil demon Ravana hears of Sita's beauty, and kidnaps her. He has fallen in love with her and tries to seduce her, but she rebuffs his advances for nearly ten months.

Desperate to win her back, Rama and Lakshmana form an alliance with the monkey king Sugriva, and invade Lanka with an army of monkeys. After many violent battles, Rama defeats Ravana and wins back Sita. He is concerned that she has been unfaithful during her long captivity, and so Sita undergoes a trial by fire to prove her chastity. Rama takes her back, and they return to rule Ayodhya for many wonderful years.

In another version of the tale, Rama hears his people gossiping about Sita's imagined indiscretions, and he banishes her to the forest, where she gives birth to Rama's twin sons. Sita and the children confront him years later; he tries to explain his harsh actions to Sita, but she vanishes into the earth to escape him.