The original story of
Ramayana was a huge epic
poem (24,000 couplets!) written by a Sanskrit
poet names Valmiki. The story was passed on from generation to generation by
parents and grandparents repeating it to their children. As a result, there are MANY versions of this story.
It has been retold for hundreds of years, and it is still the
subject of many danced, plays, puppet shows, songs and movies all over
Rama was the oldest of four sons, and he was supposed to become king when
his father retired. Rama’s
stepmother was jealous, because her son, Bharata, was not to become
king. Remembering the
king’s promise to grant her any two wishes that she wanted, she took him
up on his offer. One of her
wishes was to demand that Rama be deported, and that her son, Bharta,
would be crowned. The king had to keep his promise, especially to his own wife.
Rama’s father granted this horrible wish, and ordered that Rama
be banished for fourteen years. Rama
agreed to the punishment, saying “I will proudly follow my father’s
order.” Rama spoke to his
stepmother one day, and told her, “I would agree to be banished even if
you had commanded the order.”
Sita, Rama’s wife, heard about Rama’s banishment, she pleaded to be
allowed to accompany Rama to the forest where he had been sent. After a
short talk with her husband, she spoke with sadness about their marriage.
One of the things she said was, “Let me walk before you, so that
your path may be smoother.” Sita
and Rama’s brother, Lakahmana went to the forest with Rama.
Bharata found out what his mother had done, he went to go find Rama in the
forest. He tried to convince Rama to come back and take his rightful place
as the king. Rama refused to
go with him, not wishing to disobey his father’s command.
Bharata took Rama’s sandals back to the throne and placed them
there as symbols of Rama’s authority.
He made offerings to his brother every day, and agreed to rule
“temporarily” in Rama’s place.
He intended to give the kingdom back to Rama after the
fourteen-year banishment was over.
You Know? Rama,
Sita and Bharata are all good examples of how Indian people followed the
rules of dharma, or the right path in life.