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5 reasons why your WHOLE FAMILY should take a part in Global Ramayana Olympiad this Diwali !

The Ramayana School is going to organise the Global Ramayana Olympiad on the evening of 15th November on the occasion of Diwali. With our partner Hindi-USA, we have arranged great prizes for the winners of this Olympiad, starting from USD 500 for the top global winner. Here is the ‘AEIOU’ that explains why your child should take a part in this event:

  1. Amazing exposure: We will have a number of participants from across the globe. Families from the US, the UK, India, France, Germany, the UAE, and many other countries will join us in the event. This will give exposure to your child and family.
  2. Extraordinary prizes: If your child & family is performing extraordinarily then we do have extraordinary prizes to encourage them. For top-10 participants, we have prizes ranging from Rs 7,101 to Rs 35,101 i.e. $100 to $500. This step will create a healthy competition spirit in them. This will be Laxmi Ji’s blessings for the participants.
  3. Innovative way to spend your time: We all are busy during the year but Diwali is an exception. How about utilising only an hour to spend with your child and family in a worthy way? Global Ramayana Olympiad is precisely for that purpose.
  4. Online event: During the crucial time of pandemic, one may wonder how is this going to be conducted. The answer is: ONLINE We have adopted latest technologies which will give you the experience of real-time event even if you’re participating while seating in your drawing room.
  5. Understanding an epic: Ramayana is an ancient epic loaded with infinite wisdom. With this Olympiad, we are going to open the doors of curiosity which will help your child to understand this mesmerising epic.

Then what are you waiting for? Hurry up and join us.

👉 Click here if you’re living in India

👉 Click here, otherwise

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Why do you need friends like Jambavanta in your life?

Sita was kidnapped by Ravana; Rama and Lakshmana didn’t know about either her location or her condition. Rama and his brother eventually met Sugriva and Hanuman. Sugriva sent an army of Vanaras to know whereabouts of Sita. All Vanaras went in the different directions in groups; one such group would go towards South towards ocean where they met Sampati, an old eagle who had far eyesight. Sampati told the army of Vanaras that Sita was captivated in Lanka and he could see that.

Now, the biggest challenge came on the Vanaras to cross the vast and great ocean. One vanara said that he could jump but he became old now. Another added that he, too, could jump but need one location rest between the ocean. It was followed by a plenty of reasons from the Vanaras for their inabilities to cross the ocean.

Then, Jambavanta, who is described as a strategic warrior in Valmiki Ramayana, motivated Hanumana to cross the ocean with his gigantic jump. The latter was teasing the Rishis in his childhood with his extraordinary powers which was resulted into the curse that he would forgot all his powers until someone reminds him of them. After hearing Jambavanta, Hanuman got ready for the jump. In Ramcharitmanas, the most popular section–Sundar Kanda–starts with the lines,“जामवंत के बचन सुहाए। सुनि हनुमंत हृदय अति भाए॥“ The literally translation is: The sayings of Jambavanta were liked by the heart of Hanuman.

In our life, we get ‘N’ number of difficulties. Many times we get disappointed. Sometimes we don’t get any strength to stand up. This is why you need a friend like Jambavanta who knows you, your difficulties, and how to motivate you. “You are,” said America’s successful entrepreneur Jim Rohn, “the average of the five people you spend most time with.”

That’s it! So, start finding a friend like Jambavanta…

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Divine Ganesh Mantra to remove obstacles in your life

Vakra-Tunndda Maha-Kaaya Suurya-Kotti Samaprabha |
Nirvighnam Kuru Me Deva Sarva-Kaaryessu Sarvadaa ||

“Vakratunda Mahakaya” is a Prayer to Lord Ganesha, to remove obstacles and bless with success. Lord Ganesha is prayed to at the beginning of all works as he is the deity who removes obstacles, bring fortunes and luck.

The large elephant head of Lord Ganesha symbolizes the wisdom, understanding and intellect that one must possess to attain perfection in life. Elephants are the path creators when they passes through thick woods, a way is created for other animals to follow. Lord Ganesha is also prayed before starting anything new. Lord Ganesha clear the obstacles and paves the way for us to move forward in life to achieve success and prosperity.

Benefits of Chanting “Vakratunda Mahakaya” shloka:

  1. Chanting “Vakratunda Mahakaya” itself create the positivity in the environment which realises the robust energy.
  2. Neuroscientists, equipped with advanced brain-imaging tools, are beginning to quantify and confirm some of the health benefits of this ancient practice of shloka, such as its ability to help free your mind of background chatter and calm your nervous system.
  3. Regular chanting of shlokas is believed to wipe out fear, anger and depression, and help relieve disorders of the respiratory, digestive, reproductive, circulatory, speech, intellectual and cognitive systems.
  4. Chanting helps to develop one’s mental powers and strength, ease stress, and take one to a higher level of consciousness.
  5. Chanting also improves one’s memory and power of concentration, so crucial if one wants to be an achiever.

Regular chanting of Shlokas will de-stress you and make you efficient in your work.

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10 Most Powerful Shloka, Every Child Should Learn

Shloka are the Verses from great Ancient Indian texts like Vedas, Mahabharata and Ramayana. These verses introduce humans to a deeper understanding of life. Reciting Shlokas have diverse benefits which help us to integrate our understanding, feelings and emotional development together to live a purposeful and prosperous life.

Here is the list of 10 most powerful Shlokas. Reciting these Shlokas regularly gives peace, calmness and focus. It allows channelizing the energy inside us and improves concentration, sharpens the memory and inculcates discipline to make us a better human being.

  1. “Vakratunda Mahakaya Suryakoti Samaprabha”- Vartakunda is dedicated to Lord Ganesha, the god of Charm and Luck. It is the prayer to him to remove the obstacles and bless with success. Lord Ganesha is prayed to at all the beginning of the work.
  2. “OM Saha Navavatu”- Om Saha is a Shanti Mantra to invoke Inner Peace. It helps to optimize and improve body functioning, bestows a heightened spiritual experience touching.
  3. “Sarasvati Namastubhyam”- This Shloka is dedicated to Goddess Sarasvati. Offering Salutations to Goddess, Who is the giver of Boons and fulfiller of Wishes. Receding this shloka illuminates the mind and gaining knowledge and Wisdom.
  4. “Gururbrahma Gururvishnu”- This is a salutation to the divine Guru. Prayer to the dispeller of darkness remover, who is the highest lord which enlighten us.
  5. “Namastestu Mahamaya”- This is dedicated to Goddess Laxmi who brings good luck in life. Recitation this Shloka is very powerful to gain prosperity as the Goddess Laxmi is grants boons to alleviate misfortunes, suffering, and poverty.
  6. “Sarva Mangala Mangalye”- This Shloka is a prayer to Goddess Parvati, One who is Pure, who is the fulfiller of the desires, protector of all. Every power in the world is the symbol of Goddess Parvati.
  7. “Ramaya Ramabhadraya”- This Shloka is a salutation to bestow Rama, a charismatic god who is a symbol of courtesy and virtues, a man of values and morals. This mantra removes all fears and promotes harmony.
  8. “Mukum Karoti”- This Shloka is a Prayer to Lord Krishna. Krishna who guides us to empower ourselves with inner strength, unleash our power towards achieving the best, and follow the path of Karma and Dharma.
  9. “Sarve Bhavantu Sukhinah”- Sarve Bhavantu Sukhinah Mantra helps to establish peace in the Universe and in our Hearts. The great sages of India chanting Shanti mantra and its echoes have reverberated through centuries which brings joy, happiness, and peace.
  10. “Asato Maa Sadgamaya”- Asato Maa is a Shanti Mantra. This mantra helps to keep us away from ignorance and darkness and will lead us to truth and light.

Learning these mantras and reciting them regularly Improves concentration, reduces violence and anger within and creates values among humans to live peacefully and harmonious quality life.

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Renewed Indian Interest In Ramayana

The Ramayana – just a part of Hindu “mythology”? It is strikingly important to understand the true significance of The Ramayana. The structure of Srimad Valmiki Ramayana is arranged into six Kaandas or Books, comprising 24,000 Shlokas or Verses. The Ramayana is read worldwide, having originally been written in Sanskrit and now has been translated to several languages. Broadly speaking, it has enlightened us with the concepts of an ideal teacher, an ideal king, an ideal wife and an ideal brother. The most important of all is the victory of good over evil. If one is able to transcend the limiting way of viewing The Ramayana as “Hindu mythology” and can keenly read the epic with an open mind, he or she will discover the wisdom of the ancient sages and intellectuals. Yet, it poses a challenge to the reader to imbibe the most he or she can, from it.

The term ‘Hindutva’ is often misunderstood by people and used inappropriately by the Left Liberal Academia to serve their narrative. Such is the claim of those who feel that the re-airing of The Ramayana in the 21st century is an attempt to promote Hindutva thereby sending a wrong message to the religious minorities. Yes, The Ramayana is a part of Hindu literature, but it has lessons for all of humankind. The massive solidarity and its spiritual values are not restricted to any religion or class of people but are available for all. A true seeker of knowledge will have something or the other to learn from The Ramayana, Bible, and Guru Granth Sahib all alike.

Coming to The Ramayana in the contemporary era, how can we forget the longest case in Indian judicial history: Ram Mandir – Babri Masjid dispute? The dispute was amongst Hindu Maha Sabha, Sunni Wakf Board and Nirmohi Akhara. All three groups filed independent suits for the possession of the disputed site of Ayodhya. Vishva Hindu Parishad launched the Ram Janma Bhoomi movement on 22nd December, 1949 to mobilise public support for Lord Rama’s birthplace Ayodhya.

On 30th September, 2010, Allahabad High Court gave its verdict. The 2.77 acres of land was to be divided into 3 parts: one part to Ram Lalla who represented the Hindu Maha Sabha, one to Sunni Wakf Board and one to Nirmohi Akhara. The Sunni Wakf Board and the Nirmohi Akhara challenged the High court’s verdict in the Supreme Court leading to great resentment amongst people.

The final verdict was given on 9th November, 2019, the 5 judge Supreme Court bench gave out a unanimous judgement in favor of the Ram Janmabhoomi and the construction of Ram Mandir at the disputed site while the Sunni Wakf Board was given an alternate plot of 5 acres.

This case was indeed, a significant step towards the revival of interest in Holy Scriptures of The Ramayana. A part of this interest can be traced back to Ramanand Sagar’s television programme ‘Ramayana’. The viewership was tremendously overwhelming. Over the centuries, the Indic connect of The Ramayana was dormant, but these incidents have been successful in rejuvenating it.

But what about now, has the ancient scripture of The Ramayana caught people’s attention similarly?

It is not very astonishing to see that the number of people watching it now has only increased. Despite being aired again after 33 years, 77 million people have watched Ramanand Sagar’s Ramayana, breaking all records on 16th April 2020. This only proves that the interest in the holy books has never been lost completely, but rather has been buried amidst the fast flow of our daily lives and the leftist barrage of ignominy against our cultural ethos.

How is Ramayana relevant in today’s time? Being in the Kali yuga, according to the Hindu texts, or the Holocene epoch of the Quaternary period, human minds need to retrieve the concepts of the Vedas, Bhagvat Geeta, Ramayana, Mahabharata, etc. Ramayana is an ever intriguing epic that took place towards the end of the Treta Yuga. Every reading of the Ramayana gives out a new piece of knowledge. This process of learning and assimilating is never ending. There are several realisations that can help man contemplate the most righteous way of behaviour that is expected from him. Rishi Valmiki said, “Lord Rama is the closest anyone can get to human virtue.” Lord Rama is a ‘manav-avatar’. He possessed no Godly or supernatural powers. Yet through his actions, principles and devotion he rose to the status of God. All his accomplishments were achieved in a human form. Lord Vishnu took his 7th Avatar as a human to teach us that man is limited only to his own thoughts and self-perspective. If a man is devoted enough and willing to work hard he can also become “maryada-purushottam-Ram” (the most righteous and finest of men) and can defeat the mighty Asura or demon king Ravana.

In this era of “Netflix and chill”, how has Ramayana instilled a sudden interest in people? For our parents and grandparents it is a resurface of old memories, how the entire family would be glued just to one TV set, contrary to what’s happening in today’s world, where each member of the house has his or her own separate device. For youngsters, it is an opportunity to satiate the curiosity of knowing what their parents and grandparents watched in their yesteryears. It is a legend that brings everyone together to revive interest in the timeless principles.

It’s an exceptional amalgamation of nostalgia and curiosity that has invoked everyone to revive their interests in Lord Rama.

Ramayana has something special reserved for everyone. The interest in it will constantly be renewed all through the ages. It is an epic that has captivated minds and propagated virtue and will continue to do so even in the future, for all of mankind.

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Why Did Kaikeyi Send Her Favorite Son To Exile?

As Ayodhya was gearing up for Ram’s coronation the next day there was joy and celebration everywhere but one person–Manthara–was not happy. When she found out about the coronation she stormed into Kaikeyi’s chambers and exclaimed, “Get up you Fool! How can you lie on the bed like that when danger is all around you?”

Manthara had a special relationship with the queen, she was a maid, but also an elder companion from Kaikeyi’s father’s home, who had looked after her for many years. Hence, she had the liberties with language. She went on by saying, “Dashrath is going to appoint Rama as Yuvraj, Bharata and you will be left with nothing, your end is near.”

This was the first time Kaikeyi was hearing anything about this matter. The decision regarding the coronation had only been made a few hours earlier. She was delighted, her face lit up, and she said to Manthara, “I do not differentiate between Rama and Bharat, I am very happy that Rama will be made Yuvraj.” She gave Manthara a beautiful piece of jewelry as a gift for delivering such wonderful news. Such was Rama and Kaikeyi’s relationship till then. Kaikeyi herself said that Rama had all the qualities of a great ruler and was also the eldest among the brothers. Therefore he deserved to be the Yuvraj, for her, if Bharata was worthy Rama was even more so. “Sometimes Rama is even partial towards me and not Kausalya”, she added. Kaikeyi continued saying that, “Bharata has nothing to fear because if Rama gets the Kingdom it is as if Bharata himself has got it, because Rama regards his brothers as his own self.”

From that starting point, Manthara started her devious job of turning Kaikeyi’s mind against Ram. First, she created a difference where previously there was none. She spoke with the intent of creating a division with respect to Ram. She spoke of Kaikeyi’s paksha, or side; Rama was the other, that Bharata was Ram’s natural enemy. Next she warned Kaikeyi that the enemy would surely destroy her son once he ascended the throne. She said that Lakshman and Shatrughana were both young and therefore only Bharata could be a challenge for Ram. Thus, if Rama becomes the king he would preempt any potential challenge and will either banish or kill Bharata.

About Dasharatha, Manthara said that he was like a snake, he speaks very sweetly and righteously, but he is actually your enemy. She said, “See how deviously he is doing all this while Bharata is at his uncle’s place.” She further warned Kaikeyi that not only would her son perish but she herself would be left in a pitiful condition. “You have taken advantage of being the King’s favorite, you have not treated Kausalya kindly and now she will make you pay for that once her son becomes the King”, Manthara said to threaten her.

Again and again, Kaikeyi was struck by Manthara’s words, that were like arrows. Eventually, Kaikeyi’s mind was poisoned. She was trapped by her words,or as Kaikeyi perceived it, she saw the light. “ Oh Manthara, had it not been for you, I would have never seen through Dashrath’s nefarious plan, only you have my interest at heart. Now either Bharata will become the King or I will breathe my last here”, she announced. And then she asked, “ How to go about it Manthara?”.

Manthara reminded Kaikeyi that she had the old King wrapped around her little finger. He was infatuated with her, his young and beautiful queen. “He will never do anything to upset you,nor can he bear to see you cross, will even gladly give up his life in order to do your bidding”, said Manthara. She then advised Kaikeyi to recognize her power and told her to bind Dashrath once again to the two boons that he had granted her many years before for saving his life in a battle. She further advised her to then put forth her demands, which would be impossible to deny. The demands were to be: Bharata be made Yuvraj and not Rama and Rama be sent off into exile for fourteen years. “The second part was critical for Bharata to establish himself among the people”, Manthara added to further corrupt Kaikeyi’s mind.

To execute the plan, Kaikeyi entered the Krodhabahavan, of her palace. The Krodhabahavan was a room meant for venting anger. An interesting interior designing concept, perhaps it made the rest of the palace safe from tantrums. Inside the Krodhabahavan, Kaikeyi took off her pearl necklaces and other jewellery and threw them all on the floor. She lay waiting for Dashrath.

Lesson:-

How could Kaikeyi fall for this? It is so obvious what Manthara was trying to do. Indeed, it is obvious for a third person but, alas, never so for the person getting influenced.

There are Manthara’s everywhere in our lives too. At the workplace, within friend circle, and even in the family. They are creating divisions, poisoning minds and there are enough Kaikeyis who fall for that and turn away from loved ones.

Think about it, are we also not behaving like Kaikeyi, when we sometimes, judge Rama without giving him a chance to tell his story. When we dismiss the Ramayana without reading it.

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The Moment When Dasharatha Told Lord Rama About Vanavaas

Rama arrived at the palace to meet his father Dashratha and his step-mother Kaikeyi. Together with Lakshmana, he rode across the three outer courtyards of the grand palace in his chariot and then walked down two more courtyards. Finally Rama went inside into the private chambers by himself. Dasharatha was sitting with Kaikeyi; Rama respectfully touched their feet, but Dasharatha could barely utter Ram and could say no more.

His throat was parched, eyes tearful and his breathing heavy. He could not even look up at Rama. Rama was shocked and startled upon seeing the great King in this pitiful condition. He asked Kaikeyi what had happened to Dasharatha – “Is he ill”?, “Has anything happened to Bharat or Shatrughna?”, “Have I unknowingly done something to upset him?”, “I have never seen him like this” were questions that Rama came up with instantly.

Valmiki says, “The shameless Kaikeyi replied thus, thinking of her own interests – “The King is neither ill nor angry. But he is not able to speak his mind out of fear for you. It is a simple matter. He has promised me something and now he wants to go back on the promise. He is somehow trying to wriggle out of his agreement. But that is pointless. Now you must abide by whatever he has promised. If you agree to do so without thinking whether it is good for you or not then I will tell you what he is unable to say”.”

It upset Rama that Kaikeyi thought it necessary to bind him with one more promise. Where was the question of him breaking Dasharatha’s word? He was ready to do anything for Dasharatha – Jump into fire or consume the deadliest poison.

“I vow that I will do as per the king’s wishes,” said Rama to reassure her. Kaikeyi then told Rama how she had got the two boons as a reward for saving Dasharatha’s life in a battle and now her ask was that Bharat be made Yuvraj and Rama be sent off into exile. “You are bound by your father’s promise and as per that you must go into the forest for fourteen years and live the life of an ascetic.” Kaikeyi’s ask was akin to a death sentence. The same words had earlier struck Dasharatha like lightning and he was yet to recover from the shock, but when delivered on Rama with no sign of distress, no sorrow, no anger at all, it broke him altogether.

Without batting an eyelid Rama said to Kaikeyi, “So be it. In order to keep the King’s promise I shall go into the forest and live as an ascetic”. The king had made a promise and for the Raghuvanshi Kings breaking a promise was out of question. It would be against dharma. It could shake the very foundations of society and for someone whose highest priority was people’s well-being and his own interest had the least priority, the choice was crystal clear – Dharma must be upheld.

For Rama, the fact that the whole thing was grossly unfair to him was immaterial. Rama accepted this ghastly turn in his life with perfect equanimity. Not only that, his immediate concern was on how this would impact others. Rama consoled Dasharatha and said that Dasharatha had every right to ask anything of him. “There is no greater dharma than serving one’s father and abiding by his wishes.” Rama’s next concern was that the transition of power must be swift and smooth. So he told Kaikeyi that messengers would be sent immediately to get Bharat from his uncle’s place. But Kaikeyi managed to stoop even lower. “You seem to be quite keen,” she said, “to go into the forest so why don’t you get on with it.”

Dasharatha could not take it anymore. He exclaimed, “How shameful! What terrible torture” and collapsed. In this pivotal conversation that turned Rama’s life upside down because of Dasharatha’s word, Dasharatha does not actually say anything.

Even now, despite what she had done, Rama held no grudges against Kaikeyi. He respectfully touched Dasharatha and Kaikeyi’s feet; and took leave. “Indeed I shall go today itself,” Rama said. “All I have to do before that is take my mother Kausalya’s leave and console Sita.” When Rama came out of the palace he declined the use of the royal parasol and his grand chariot. These privileges were no longer his. A most remarkable display of being truly unattached to worldly things. There was no change at all between the Rama that had stepped into the palace as a soon-to-be Yuvraj and the Rama that stepped out after hearing the ghastly pronouncement. He was unshaken, calm, steadfast and radiant as always.

Reference:

21Notes

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When Lakshmana proposed a Coup

Despite the deadly blow dealt by Kaikeyi, Rama was unmoved. His life had turned upside down but without a single lament he went about doing what had to be done to depart for the forest. He first went to meet his mother Kausalya. Kausalya of course had no inkling of this calamity that had befallen and so she was all ready for the coronation. Upon seeing Rama, she hugged him dearly and said, “Son, may you live long and may you always follow the path of righteousness” and then offering a seat, she asked him to eat something. Rama declined and told her what had happened with Kaikeyi and Dashrath.

When Kausalya heard the news, she collapsed on the ground and was paralysed with shock, agony, and grief. After mustering the strength She asked Rama to take her along and started sobbing inconsolably. Lakshmana, who was present by Rama’s side, then spoke.

His emotions are summed up by this explosive monologue: “I don’t think that Rama should give up the Kingdom. The king has become old and he is now overpowered by passions and has developed a perverse nature. Infatuated with Kaikeyi, he can speak anything. Why should Rama go into exile? He has done no wrong. It is grossly unfair to him. Even his adversaries cannot find fault with him, then how can his own father abandon him? How can a son accept the words of such a father who has become immature and childish in old age? O Rama, before this news gets out take control of this empire! I will help you. Who would dare challenge you? And if they do I will kill them, I will kill them all. Even if it means that there is not a single person left in Ayodhya. And as for Dashratha we ought not to hold back because he is our father. Even a Guru, if he strays from the path of righteousness must be punished. If our father stands against us, he too ought to be imprisoned, even killed.”

Lakshmana had stated his intention of taking over the empire by force and killing their own father if it came to that. “You heard what your brother said, now do what you think is appropriate,” said Kausalya to Rama. “Just as you must abide by your father’s wishes, likewise, you must abide by my wishes too and I forbid you from going into the forest. What Kaikeyi has said is against Dharma. Your Dharma is to stay here and if you still go away, I will stop eating and give up my life. My death will be on you.”

Rama tried to explain his thinking to a mother wallowing in sorrow and to a bother boiling with rage. Rama gave many precedents to argue that abiding by one’s father’s wishes is the highest Dharma and in his case, Dashratha was his Guru, King, and father.

Interestingly we know that it was not actually Dashratha’s wish that Rama be sent off. In fact, the very thought that Rama would go away was killing Dasharatha, but he was helpless. Rama had to go not because Dasharatha wanted so, but because of his promise to Kaikeyi. For Rama, breaking the king’s promise was not an option. So he said, “It is not possible for me to do anything but execute the promise in every way and it is not within my powers to transgress the words of my father.”

Reference:

21Notes

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When Ayodhya Faced A Depopulation Crisis

Lakshmana had walked in while Sita and Rama were having a conversation. He knew that Rama was following Dasharatha and Kaikeyi’s order and was about to go to 14 years of exile but now even Sita was going to go with him. Hearing this, Lakshmana said, “I shall come with you. With this great bow in hand I shall clear the difficult forest path for you. O Rama, without you, this royal life means nothing to me”.

Upon hearing these words Rama tried to dissuade Lakshman from joining him and Sita but Lakshmana was adamant. “You had asked me earlier itself to be with you,” said Lakshmana. “Now why are you stopping me?”

Earlier, Rama had told Lakshmana that when he (Rama) would be crowned as the king of Ayodhya they would have to shoulder the responsibility of the empire together. Now, Lakshmana had made it clear. Empire or Exile he was there for Rama.

Now, one must notice that Rama agreed to go to exile to uphold the value imparted upon him. He had to do right by his Dharma. Sita decided to go along with Rama because it was considered as her duty to follow her husband and be with him through the ups and downs. Lakshmana, however, had no such duty or order to abide by. He was in his full youth and yet ready to sacrifice his comfortable & lavish life solely because of his love for his elder brother Rama.

Then came the time to pack things for their 14 years long exile but all they took were simple ascetic clothes and their Bows and Astras. They kept little to take but gave away a lot to scholars and sages. To Sage Valmiki’s son and his wife, they gave away jewels and many precious stones. To other scholars too, they gave away trunks filled with gems, books, stones and precious jewels. Next, Rama paid the workers of his palace advanced wages for the next 14 years.

When Rama was distributing things amongst his close fellows, there came an old Rishi named Trijat. He seemed to be in a miserable condition. He asked Rama to give some money to him too. To which Rama replied that he would only help the Rishi if the latter showed him how far the latter could throw the stick he was holding. But then Rama immediately laughed and said that he was just joking and gave away a herd of cattle to Rishi Trijat.

This small side story shows us how Rama had not lost his temper. He was neither angry nor sad. He was not wallowing in self pity. He was calm, steadfast and focussed on planning the next steps.

Having given away all of their wealth, Rama and Sita along with Lakshman got out of their palace to meet Dashratha and take his leave. Word was already out that Rama had been subjected to exile. People were shocked and devastated. The streets were packed with citizens mourning the exile of their most beloved leader–Rama. Their pain was akin to the torment of creatures living in a pond that dries up in the summer heat. They said that if Rama leaves, they will leave too. “Wherever Rama goes that forest itself will be our city and let this city be deserted by us become a forest. Let Kaikeyi rule over these deserted and dilapidated homes, drained of wealth and foodgrains, covered with dust and infested by rats.”

The fate of Ayodhya was about to be the same as that of the Janapads of Malad and Karush. Tataka’s atrocities in Malad and Karush had driven people away and brought desolation to the once wealthy and vibrant town. The people of Ayodhya were willing to give up their homes only to be with Rama.

Upon reaching the palace, Rama asked Sumantra to go inside and inform the king that they sought his audience. But the distraught Dashratha did not call them in immediately. Although he was emotionally down Dasharatha was still an astute ruler. He knew that this conversation could not be done in private courts but in public. For what he had to say must be understood clearly by everyone.

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Jatayu: The Last Stand In Ramayana

War brings death and destruction. Countless lives are lost in the process and the fallen are remembered for their valiance and determination. In the history of wars, we seldom come across individuals or troops who, despite all odds, commit themselves to the war cause and take the last stand. These men are eulogised for their deeds and leave their marks in history.

The great epic Ramayana also has one incident of the last stand taken by a bird named Jatayu. Jatayu and his elder brother Sampati were the sons of Aruna, and nephew of Garuda. Aruna is said to be the personification of the reddish glow of the rising sun. Jatayu, the king of vultures, was a demigod and a close friend of King Dashratha of Ayodhya. He had the body of a vulture. Jatayu and Sampati had many adventures together when they were young. Once both brothers had a competition to determine who could fly higher. Jatayu, being stronger, flew so high that he was about to be burned by the sun’s heat but Sampati came to his rescue and saved him by spreading his wings across and shielding Jatayu. In the process Sampati lost his wings.

In the Aranya Kanda of Valmiki’s Ramayana, when Ravana abducted Sita and tried to take her to Lanka, Jatayu fought with him. He tried his best to stop Ravana and even managed to injure him in the process. He attacked him with his sharp beak and talons but he was no match for the King of Lanka. Ravana sliced off Jatayu’s wings with his sword and escaped; Jatayu was mortally wounded and fell to the ground.

While searching frantically for Sita, Rama and Lakshmana found a bloodied Jatayu lying on the ground. Jatayu told them the entire incident and also pointed towards the direction in which Ravana had escaped. Jatayu later died of his wounds and his last rights were done by Lord Rama and Lakshmana. It is said that the place where Jatayu fell after his fight with Ravana is Lepakshi in Andhra Pradesh. The place where his last rights were performed is at Ramarkal Mettu. The town got its name when Lord Rama wished for the bird to rise and said the words Le Pakshi (“Rise, Bird”).

Sampati also played a major role in Ramayana. He was instrumental in helping Lord Rama and his army locate Sita. In Kishkindha Kanda, when Hanuman, Angad and Jambhvanth, tired and exhausted in their search for Sita, reach the southernmost end of the land with their battalion of monkeys, they are approached by Sampati. Jambhavanth tells Sampati about the sacrifice of Jatayu and how he fought against the mighty Ravana, in his attempt to save Sita.

Hearing this, Sampati, with moist eyes, remembers Jatayu and tells them about the whereabouts of Sita and points towards Ravana’s Lanka. The information about Sita’s whereabouts are relayed back to Lord Rama and plans are made for her release from the clutches of Ravana.

This small side story shows us how Rama had not lost his temper. He was neither angry nor sad. He was not wallowing in self pity. He was calm, steadfast and focussed on planning the next steps.

In the epic Ramayana, Jatayu made an important contribution by fighting Ravana even though his chances of survival in such a showdown were minimal. He took the Last Stand by trying to save Sita and fighting the evil Ravana. If it were not for him and his brother Sampati, it would have become impossible for Lord Rama to trace Sita and bring her back.

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