Seven Kaands of Ramayan
Ramayana is one of the most authentic and most popular religious text in Hinduism .It is one of the lengthiest ancient epic and consists of nearly 24000 verses(written in Anustubh meter), divided into seven Kandas, the first and seventh being the later addition by Tulsidas Ji.
The epic is divided into seven Kandas,which are as follows:
It begins with sage Valmiki questioning sage Narada if there is any man who is truly righteous in deeds and virtuous in character.Narada tells Valmiki about Rama and describe his physical characterstics and the quality he posseses.
This book describes how Valmiki wrote the Ramayana and how it was taught to Lava and Kusha.It describes how Maharaja Dashrath 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 this book. The following verses describes the birth of Shri Rama and how all the celestial bodies were at the most auspicious astrological positions.
नक्क्षत्रे अदिति दैवत्ये स्व उच्छ संस्थेषु पंचसु । ग्रहेषु कर्कटे लग्ने वाक्पता इंदुना सह ॥१-१८-९॥ प्रोद्यमाने जगन्नाथम् सर्व लोक नमस्कृतम् । कौसल्या अजनयत् रामम् सर्व लक्षण संयुतम् ॥१-१८-१०॥ on the ninth day of Chaitra month [April–May,] when the presiding deity of ruling star of the day is Aditi, where the ruling star of day is Punarvasu (Nakshatra), the asterism is in the ascendant and when five of the nine planets viz., Sun, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn and Venus are at their highest position, then Queen Kausalya gave birth to a son with all the divine attributes
The major incidents includes Rama slaying the demons like Tarhaka and Subahu , and also including the most glorious event of Sita Swayamwar.
This part is about declaration of Rama’s coronation as the king,and his exile in the forest , it includes the death of Maharaja Dashrath in grief.The majot incidents include:–
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”.Then Bharata returns from his Nanihaal and rejects his mother Kaikeyi for her sin.This is followed by meeting of Bharata and Rama in Chitrakoot.
It covers the events that occured during the time of exile . During this period Ram and Sita met many sages and the two brothers killed many demons.This book also includes the event of abduction of Devi Sita and her effort made by Ram to search her.
(i) Suparnkha – Suparnkha , the sister of Ravana was captivated by the matchless beauty of Shri Ram , and in an attempt to seduce him she took the form of Sita,but she fails,and when she turns to attack sita , Lakshmana cuts her nose.Khara, the demon brother of Suparnkha retaliates with a huge army of demons , but is defeated single handedly by Rama.
(ii)Abduction of Sita– When suparnkha returns to Ravana she tells him about the beauty of Sita and Ravana filled with lust , resolves to abduct her.He took help of Maricha who took form of a golden deer,seeing this deer Sita asks Ram to get her the deer . And then the scenario of abduction occurs.
(iii) Search for Sita– When Ram comes to know about Sita’s abduction from Jatayu ,he was left in deep remorse and acted like mad for a moment ,as described by Tulsidas in Ramcharitmanas. Then the two brothers begin the search for sita They also met the ascetic Shabari, who directed them towards Risymukha Hill where they would meet Sugriva and Hanuman.
This part mostly revolves around Ram and Sugriva . Sugriva saw Ram and Lakshmana at the foothills of Rishyamukha hills.Hanuman took the form of a Brahmin to find the identity of two brothers , he identifies Rama and surrender unto him completely. Then Rama comes to know about Bali. And this is followed by formation of alliance between Rama and Sugriva, death of Bali , and formation of a large Vaanar Sena to search for Sita.
This part is called Sundara because it glorifies the unmathed strength ,fearlessness and valour of Hanuman , and most importantly his utmost devotion for Shri Rama.Hanuman flies across the ocean to find the location where Sita was kept in Lanka.He finally finds her in Ashok Vatika.Then he shows Sita the ring as a proof that he was sent by Rama. Sita blesses Hanumana Sita gave her jewelry to Hanuman and asked him to give it to her husband.
Then Hanuman is made captive by Indrajeet one of the sons of Ravana . This is followed by him burning down the golden Lanka to ashes and then he returns to Rama and tells him about his meet with Seeta . Ram prays to Varuna to give him passage through the ocean . And then the stone bridge is constructed by the Vanara Sena.
The yuddha kaand narates the war between the army of Ravana and Rama.
Before the war Angad is sent to the court of Ravana,as a messenger to convince him to return Sita with all due respect and save Lanka from destruction . But Ravana was willing to fight the battle rather than excepting his defeat. Then Angad places his foot on the ground and says that if anyone of the could lift his foot Ram would except his defeat and all of them failed.When Vibhishan tries to convince Ravana he gets humiliated and he leaves the court and seeks refuge under Rama.
Then the battle gets started the army of Vanaras starts destroying the buildings in Lanka . On the first day Indrajit had a fierce fight with Lakshmana and when he realised that Lakshmana could not be won over,he used his deceptive powers,and uses a magical weapon Shakti, Lakshman fell unconscious, poised to die precisely at the following sunrise.Hanuman brings the Sanjeevani booti from the Himalyas and saved Lakshmana . Then comes Kumbhakarana for the battle . He destroys a large part of Rama’ s army but at end his body parts are chopped off by Rama’s mighty arrows .Then other sons and brothers of Ravana gets killed one by one.
When Rama and Lakshmana are trapped by Nagapash they are saved by Garun dev. Then starts the most deadly battle when Indrajit and Meghnada comes to the battlefield. They destroys the monkeys army with illusionary powers showering arrows from the sky.But Indrajit is killed by Lakshmana when he was performing a ritual at a secret temple.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.This is followed by Sita’s Agni Pariksha which she passes without a single burn determining her purity.
Uttara kand describes the event of Ram banishing Sita from Ayodhya,and birth of their sons Luv and Kush.
When the people of Awadh began criticising Sita on baseless accusation Ram yeilded on public opinion and sent Sita in the forest again , while she was six months pregnant. She was provided shelter by sage Valmiki and delivered Luv and Kusha.
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 the 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.