Summary of Ramayana
Ramayana is the epic tale of Lord Rama, that instructs us on the virtues of karma, dharma, relationships, duty and devotion.
Rama and Sita
Rama wins the hand of Sita in a bridegroom-selection ceremony called “Swayamvara”. The ceremony consists of a contest to string a huge bow. Princes from many kingdoms arrive at the ceremony to win the contest and the hand of Sita. But, only Rama is able to string the bow. Sita garlands Rama signifying marriage.
Palace intrigues force the exile of Rama for 14 years into a forest. Rama’s father, King Dasharatha, had four sons from three wives. Kaikeyi, his second wife, tries to win the throne for her son Bharata. But, Dasharatha dies before his successor could be anointed. Due to this palace intrigue, Rama is sent into exile.
Life in Exile
In the deep forest, Rama leads a quiet life with Sita and another brother Lakshmana. The noble Bharata comes to the forest and requests Rama to return to his kingdom, Ayodhya. But, Rama refuses, citing his vow to his father, and stays in exile. Bharata takes Rama’s sandals and returns to place them on the throne, symbolically validating Rama’s reign.
Ravana Kidnaps Sita
The ten-headed, demon king Ravana, king of Lanka, abducts Sita from the forest. Rama raises an army to rescue her, aided by the monkey-general Hanuman. A battle royale ensues between Rama’s predominantly monkey-dominated army and Ravana’s forces. Righteousness wins in the end, with Rama vanquishing Ravana and reuniting with Sita.
Rama Becomes King
After his fourteen years in exile, Rama returns to Ayodhya to a triumphant welcome by its citizens. Rama and Sita beget two sons Luv and Kush. Sita’s abduction raises questions about her chastity. She undergoes a trial by fire as a result. Though, Sita proves her purity, she goes back for good to the earth from whence she emerged.