In the previous episode, we had witnessed the important events that unfolded, that led to the origin of the holy River Ganga. It can be witnessed here that it was because of the mammoth effort of King Bhageeratha. We’ve seen that King Bhageeratha undertook a severe penance towards Mother Ganga and requested her to transcend down to the earth’ surface, so that he can sprinkle her holy waters’ and bring his 60,000 forefathers to life. Although initially Mother Ganga refused, she relented owing to the intensity of King Bhageeratha’s penance. Thus, with the divine intervention of Bhagawan Shiva in the form of Gangaadhara and Jataadhara, Mother Ganga transcends down to the earth from the place called Haridwar, in the from of the huge glacier called “Gangothri”. This is an awesome place and a paradise on earth even today, and we can see the crystal-clear water flowing with a great speed and sound! Such is the significance of River Ganga and this river is considered the holiest river in the world. It is believed widely that if one takes bath in the waters of this river, all his / her sins are washed away. This is the reason why we see thousands of people flocking to all the holy places along this river in the likes of Haridwar, Rishikesh, Varanasi, Prayagraj, etc. to take a holy bath and performing all their “Pitru-Kaarya” (Offerings to our ancestors). Readers might know that there is a famous festival by name “Kumbha-Mela” that is celebrated once every twelve years, and this draws tens of thousands of devotees from all over the country and also from various parts of the world! Such is the significance of this holy River Ganga.
Moving on thus, as Mother Ganga transcends down to the earth, the successors of King Bhageeratha come one after the other. Firstly it was King Aja. Subsequent to King Aja was the great King Dasharata. It was to King Dasharata was Bhagawan Rama born! All of us know this very well. Now as Sage Sukhaachaarya explains this to King Parikshit, he goes on to explain the entire story of the Ramayana in a brief. Of course, there is this entire text of Ramayana authored by Valmiki Maharishi, but just for the sake of continuity, Sage Sukhaachaarya explains the Ramayana story in a brief. He narrates how King Dasharata was childless for a long time and how he performed the “Putra-Kaameshti Yaaga” (A divine spiritual offering for the want of a child). He explains how the divine “Payasam” was born from the midst of the offering and how this “Payasam” was split amongst his three wives, Kaushalya, Kaikeyi and Sumitra. As a result of this, four sons were born, with Bhagawan Rama being the eldest one. Bhagawan Rama was born to Kaushalya Devi. Subsequenly, Bharata was born to Kaikeyi and Sumitra delivered twin babies of Lakshmana and Shatrughna.
As Rama and his brothers grow up, King Dasharata starts thinking about their marriage and this was the time, Sage Vishwamitra comes along and takes Rama and Lakshmana along with him to protect his “Yagna” that he was performing. Although King Dasharata protested initially, Sage Vishwamitra takes both the children along with him and accordingly, both Rama and Lakshmana kill all the Raakshasas including Thaataka and Shubaahu. Maareecha was left over, but was pushed into the ocean with Bhagawan Rama’s sharp arrows! Subsequently the three of them go into Mithilapuri, the kingdom of King Janaka. Bhagawan Rama breaks the “Shiva-Dhanush” and in turn, marries Sita Devi.
Subsequently, all the four brothers were married off to King Janaka’s and his brother’s daughters and the entire caravan returns to Ayodhya, wherein on the way, Bhagawan Rama defeats Parasurama. All of them were happily living for the next twelve years in the kingdom of Ayodhya, until Kaikeyi, one of King Dasharata’s wives, asks for two boons, as King Dasharata was readying plans to coronate Bhagawan Rama to the throne. All his plans were foiled within just minutes – Bhagawan Rama, Lakshmana and Mother Sita left to the forest for the next fourteen years. Upon hearing this, Bharata and Shatrugna were extremely displeased and disappointed and immediately run to Bhagawan Rama, so as to convince him and make him return back to Ayodhya. However, Bhagawan Rama was steadfast in His approach. He was determined to obey His father’s words and finish His fourteen-year-tenure in the forest.
Subsequently, Bhagawan Rama kills around fourteen thousand Raakshasas within a jiffy, with his sharp arrows, so as to save all the great Maharishis who were doing penance in the forest. Angered upon this, Ravana, who was the head of all the Raakshasas wanted to take vengeance on Bhagawan Rama, hatched a wicked plan and abducted Mother Sita through Maareecha, in the form of a golden deer. As Ravana abducts Mother Sita, Jatayu, the king of eagles tried his best to save Mother Sita, however he couldn’t succeed in his efforts. Jatayu was later conferred the highest “Moksha” by Bhagawan Rama Himself for his brave act.
As Bhagawan Rama and Lakshmana tread their way along, searching for Sita, they make friendship with the “Vaanaras” (Monkeys) headed by Sugriva and Co. Hanuman comes into the picture here and it was Hanuman who nurtures friendship between Bhagawan Rama and Sugriva. According to the agreement, Bhaagwan Rama kills Vaali, who was Sugriva’s brother, and instates Sugriva as the King of the Vaanaras. In return, Sugriva sends all his troops to search for Mother Sita and Hanuman was sent in the southern direction. Hanuman somehow succeeds in tracing Mother Sita’s whereabouts in Ravana’s Lanka, speaks with her, consoles her and takes this “happy news” to Bhagawan Rama. On the way, Hanuman burns the entire city of Lanka after being insulted by Ravana and Co.
As Hanuman comes back and conveys the good news, Bhagawan Rama and the entire Vaanara army starts their march towards Lanka. As they reach the southern shores of the ocean, Vibhishana, Ravana’s brother comes and surrenders to Bhagawan Rama and with his help, the Ram-Sethu bridge was built. Subsequently, a huge war breaks out between Bhagawan Rama’s and Ravanas’ troops, and at the end, Bhagawan Rama succeeds in defeating and killing Ravana for the mistake that he had done! Eventually, Bhagawan Rama finishes his fourteen-year-period of his “Vana-Vaasa” and returns back to Ayodhya victoriously, along with Mother Sita. He was thus coronated to the throne of Ayodhya and subsequently the “Rama-Rajya” began.
With this, Sage Sukhaachaarya briefly explains the entire Ramayana to King Parikshit and for today, let us enjoy the beauty of this divine “Charitra” of Bhagawan Rama once more! We’ve already done it before, but it’s time for us to reflect back and enjoy it again! We shall wait till the next episode to move on with the next set of events! Stay tuned! 😊