Ram is the 7th incarnation
and the central figure of the Ramayana epic. The Ramayan is
the very soul of India. It is a complete guide to God-realization,
the path to which lies in righteousness. The ideals of man
are beautifully portrayed in it. Everyone should emulate those
ideals and grow into ideal human beings and ideal citizens.
took birth to free the earth from the cruelty and sins of
the demon King Ravana (Ravan). Ravana had practiced austerities
in order to propitiate Shiva
who had granted him immunity from being killed by gods, gandharvas
or demons. One of the gods had to take on a human form in
order to be able to defeat Ravana.
Ram was born as the first son of Dasharatha,
king of Ayodhya. His mother's name was Kausilya. He had three
brothers : Bharata (Bharat) born from the second wife Kaikeyi,
and Lakshmana (Lakshman) and Shatrughna born from the third
One day Saint Vishwamitra visited Ayodhya and
asked Dashratha to send Ram and Lakshmana with him because
the Yakshini (demon) Tarka - with her two sons Mareech and
Subahu - were terrifying him and the other saints at his ashram.
They were not letting them worship and meditate. Ram went
with Lakshmana and Vishwamitra to kill Tarka. On the way to
Saint Vishwamitra's ashram there was a dense forest. When
they entered the forest Tarka came to kill them but Ram killed
her and her son Subahu with a weapon given to him by Vishwamitra.
He also shot an arrow at Mareech and threw him 100 yojan far
Ram went with Saint Vishwamitr to Mithila where the wise King
Janak ruled. King Janak had organized a svayamvaraa (an acient
custom wherein the bride chose her husband of her own accord
from amongst a number of suitors). It was announced that whosoever
will bend the bow of Lord Shiva will marry King Janak's daughter
Sita. Sita was an incarnation of Lakshmi, the consort of Lord
Vishnu. But none of the suitors was able to lift Lord Shiva's
bow, except Ram. Ram lifted the bow with his one hand and
bended it so hard that it even broke.
Ram got married to Sita, and his brothers got happily married
to Sita's sisters. After returning and living happily in Ayodhya
the old King Dashrath decided that it was time to give his
kingdom to his beloved son Ram. There Kaikeyi, the third and
youngest wife of the King, claimed the throne for her son
Bharat. A long time before the young Queen had saved the King's
life and he had promised to fulfill her two wishes. Manthara,
the crooked and evil-minded maid-servant of Kaikeyi influenced
the queen to claim her wishes now in favor of her son and
to request Dashrath to banish Ram from the kingdom for fourteen
years, and to install Bharat on the throne instead. The King
was shocked, his heart was broken, but he knew that truth
is the highest Dharm, and that he had to fulfill his promise
to his wife. So Ram went to exile happily, knowing that to
obey and serve his father was the highest duty of a son.
After Ram left to the forest, Dashrath died
from the pangs of separation from his beloved son Ram. Bharat
went to the forest to meet his brother Ram and to request
him to come back to Ayodhya. When Ram refused to return, in
honor of the promise to his father, Bharat took Ram's "khadau"
(wooden sandals) and placed them symbolically on Ayodhya's
throne. Until his brother returned from the exile Bharat served
the kingdom as a true and honest caretaker of Ram.
Once Surpnakha, the sister of Ravana, passed
by the place where Ram was living. She saw Ram and became
impressed by his beauty. She transformed herself into a beautiful
lady and went to Ram and asked him to marry her. When Ram
refused and told her he is already married to Sita, she became
angry. Coming back to her original form she ran towards Sita
to kill her. When Lakshman saw that he cut her nose and one
ear. Surpnakha then send her brother Khardushan with fourteen
thousand rakshasas to avenge her. But all were killed by Ram.
now sought vengeance through her older brother Ravana, but
only got his interest by pointing out that the beautiful Sita
would be a fitting wife for him. Ravana lured Ram and Lakshman
away from Sita by sending an enchanted deer of extreme beauty
and then took Sita to his kingdom of Lanka. On the way, Jatayu,
a vulture bird and old friend of Ram's father Dashrath, fought
Ravan but was fatally wounded. He lived only long enough to
tell Ram what had happened upon his return.
In Lanka, Ravana tried to threathen Sita into
marrying him, but was rejected again and again. Meanwhile,
Ram made an alliance with the monkey King Sugreeva, who had
been exiled from his kingdom by his brother Bali. Rama helped
Sugreeva to regain his kingdom and in return Sugreeva raised
an army of monkeys and bears, led by Hanuman.
When they reached the sea, Hanuman flew across. On the way
he had many advantures, which can be found on the Hanuman
Lanka, Hanuman promised Sita that help would come soon. When
he was then captured by the rakshasas, Ravana ordered them
to set fire to Hanuman's tail, wrapping it with oily rags.
But Hanuman increased the length of his tail so much that
there seemed no end to it. He escaped and used his burning
tail to set fire to all of Lanka.
Meanwhile, Rama's army had build a huge bridge
between Lanka and the mainland. They crossed the ocean and
attacked Ravana's army. During the battle, Lakshmana was heavily
wounded, but he was cured by a magic herb which Hanuman flew
all the way to the Himalayas to obtain. Not finding the herb
at first, Hanuman brought the entire mountain just to be sure.
Finally, all rakshasa generals were killed and the battle
become a single combat between Ravana and Rama. Finally, Rama
killed Ravana with a special weapon given to him by saint
This was a moment of great rejoicing. Ram and
Sita were finally crowned King and Queen of Ayodhya, though
people were doubting that Sita had preserved her virtue while
being Ravana's captive, which is another story in itself.