Lord Rama ,also called Shri Ramchandra was the legendary king of Ayodhya, the eldest son of king Dasrath and Kaushalya. He is the warrior hero of the one of the longest and legendary Hindu epic Ramayana.
Rama is the seventh incarnation of Narayana(Vishnu),born to kill the demon king – Lankapati Ravana.
Lord Rama is known for his virtues and for the principles he followed throughout his life .
Till now Ram Rajya is used as a term for the best governance in a state referring to the rule of Ayodhya during the period of Rama.
Birth of Rama
Maharaja Dashrath,the king of Ayodhya who could not concieve a son got four sons with the advise of Rishi Rishyasringa .The miraculous birth of Rama and his three brothers Bharata, Lakshmana and Shatrughana, their early life ,their life in gurukul is described in the Baal Kanda of Ramayana.
On the ninth day of Chaitra month when the ruling star of the day is Punarvasu(Nakshatra ) and presiding deity is Aditi ,when the asterism is in the ascendant and when five of the nine planets which are Sun, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn and Venus are at their highest position:
Then Queen Kausalya gave birth to a son with all the divine attributes !
Rama in Gurukul
During their childhood the four brothers grew up under the shade of the love offered by their parents. Very soon Dasrath realised that the children have now grown up and are supposed to be send to gurukul.
King Dashratha called Sage Vashishtha to perform the thread ceremony or Yagnopavita Samskara for the four boys. Then Rama was sent to Gurukul along with his three brothers.
As per the tradition of Gurukul everyone was equal , whether one is a son of king or a tribe ,all are treated equally. Rama learnt about Religion, Duty, Polity and Archery.
Within few years Rama became well versed in all the scriptures taught at Guruku.
Divine Marriage of Rama
After returning from Gurukul Rama and Lakshmana went with Maharishi Vishwamitra to assist him in the divine sacrifice he was performing . On their way Rama killed many demons .
Meanwhile ,Janak the truthful king of Mithila who had a beautiful daughter named Sita,declared that the one who would lift the bow( granted to him by Varuna) and string it ,his daughter would be married to him . Beholding the mighty bow resembling a mountain in weight, the kings, unable to lift it, paid their homage and left.
Sage Vishwamitra also reached the court of Janaka along with Rama and Lakshmana.
The incident when Rama breaks the bow is beautifully described by Sita in Ramayana,
After a long time, resplendent Rama whose prowess was truth, arrived along with his brother Lakshman and sage Viswamitra in order to witness the sacrifice. "Both these sons of king Dasaratha wish to see the bow. Show the divine bow to prince Rama"-said Vishwamitra. At the words of that ascetic, my father brought out the bow. Mighty and valiant Rama bent it and strung it and drew it in the twinkling of an eye. When Rama was stringing the bow with force, it was broken into two in the middle and fell down with a dreadful sound like that of thunder.
14 Years of Exile
1.Dasrath decides to coronate Rama as the new ruler– When maharja dasrath grows old he decides to make his eldest son as the new king and with support of the ministers it was decided that the rituals of RajyaAbhishek would be performed the next day.
2.Manthra poisons Kaikeyi’s mind- Manthra , who was the maid of Kaikeyi fills her mind with negative thoughts about Rama and due to affection for her own son ‘Bharat’ ,she asked Dasrath to make Bharat as king instead of Rama ,and fourteen year long exile for Rama in forest.
3. Rama sent to exile– When Rama learns that his father had made a promise he immediately decides to leave for his Vanvaas renunciating all the comfort as a prince without a second thought. He is also accompanied by Lakshmana and Sita in his exile.
When Rama asks Sita to stay in the palace , she says ” The forest where you dwell is Ayodhya for me, and Ayodhya without you is a veritable hell for me”.
Rama as a Lover
When Ram comes to know about Sita’s absence ,he started asking he birds and animals if they had seen Sita .
Here Ram showed his pleasant side as a true lover.
न हि तां सूक्ष्मपक्ष्माक्षीं सुकेशीं मृदुभाषिणीम्। अपश्यतो मे सौमित्रे जीवितेऽस्ति प्रयोजनम्।।4.1.30।। ---- Valmiki Ramayan - Kishkindha Kaand O Lakshman my life is meaningless if I cannot see my beloved Sita with her delicate eyelashes, beautiful locks of hair and her sweet voice. 'Unable to see my beloved wife, the very sight of these lovely trees intensifies my love for her who shines resplendent in me.
Ram and Hanuman
Rama first met Hanuman at the foothills of Rishyamukha mountain.Hanuman took the form of a Brahmin to find the identity of two brothers , he identifies Rama and surrender unto him completely. From his first meeting till the present day , Hanuman has been the greatest devotee of Lord Rama.
Hanuman is known for his unmatched strength, fearlessness and valour and especially for his utmost devotion to Rama.
Victory of truth over ego
After crossing the ocean ,with the help of Vanar sena , Rama reached Lanka .During the war, Ram and Lakshman showed their extreme skills of archery in various conquests .
When Ravana enters the battlefield the war became more devastating , it continued for seven days. Ravan got the nectar of Amrit from Gods and he had stored it in his stomach , so when his head was chopped a new one would replace it . Finally Ram fires a Brahmastra and it enters Ravana stomach and he is killed.Then Vibhishana is crowned as the king of Lanka.
The victory of Ram over Ram depicted the victory of truth over ego.
After the war Ram says that it was not he who killed Ravana, but the ego and arrogance of Ravana ,which became the cause of his death.
Rama and his Sons
Valmiki composed the Ramayana (having twenty four thousand verses) and taught Luv and Kush to sing it. Later, Rama held a ceremony during Ashwamedha yagna, which Rishi Valmiki, with Luv and Kush, attended. Luv and Kush sang the Ramayan in the presence of Rama and his vast audience. Rama summoned all his brothers and ministers to listen to the ballad. Rama himself was put to the turmoil, for the ballad sung by these youngsters narrated the legend of Sita.
When Luv and Kush recited about Sita’s exile, Ram became grievous, and Valmiki produced Sita. Ram then learned that Luv and Kush are his children. Once Sita witnessed the acceptance of her children by Ram, Sita sought final refuge in the arms of her mother Bhumi, to receive her and as the ground opened, she disappeared into it.
Departure of Rama
At the verge of completing his avatar ,Lakshmana walked into the Sarayu river in the form of Adishesha( Sheshnaga).
Rama also handed over his responsibilities as a king to his sons and walked in the Sarayu river .
Soon in the same place Rama appeared as Sri Hari Vishnu, resting on Adishesha ,and blessed his devotees and people of Ayodhya.
A few verses describing the qualities of Lord Rama:
Ramachandraya Janaka Raja Jaa Manoharaaya Maamakaabheeshtadhaaya… Mahitha Mangalam Chaaru Kumkumopetha… Chandhanaani Charchithaaya Haarakataka Shobhithaaya… Bhoori Mangalam Vimalaroopaaya Vividha… Vedhaantha Vedhyaaya Sumukha Chittha Kaamithaaye… Shubadha Mangalam Ramadaasaaya Mrudhula Hrudhaya… Thaamarasa Nivaasaaya SwamiBhadragirivaraaya Divyamangalam
Sita and Rama suffered through hardship, longing and insult throughout their life . Yet, they abided by Dharma and never wavered from their love for each other – an important lesson from their life.