Friday, 24 June 2011



Once, Sages requested Sutji to describe about Sri Ram's return from Lanka. Sutji narrated the same tale, which Sheshnag had once told Vatsyayan.Sheshnag said--After the killing of demon king Ravan, Sri Ram appointed Vibhishan as the king of Lanka. He then decided to return to Ayodhya on Pushpak-Viman, which Vibhishan had presented to him.

He along with Sita, Laxman, Sugreev and Hanuman boarded the aircraft and flew towards Ayodhya.The earth looked beautiful from such a high altitude and Sri Ram was continuously describing about the importance of various places over which the aircraft flew. As the aircraft was about to enter the airspace of Ayodhya, Sri Ram recognized Bharat, who was living at Nandigram at that time. Bharat had vowed not to enter Ayodhya till the return of Sri Ram, hence he stayed at Nandigram situated at the outskirts of Ayodhya awaiting Sri Ram's return. He led an austere life as the result of which he had become weak and feeble.

On seeing Bharat, Sri Ram instructed Hanuman to inform him about his (Ram's) arrival. Hanuman went to the hermitage of Bharat and informed him about Sri Ram's arrival. Bharat's joy knew no bound and he expressed his desire to reward Hanuman for bringing such auspicious news. Bharat then accompanied Hanuman and went to meet Sri Ram.Sri Ram's heart was filled with grief when he saw Bharat, who looked like a hermit in his 'Valkal' and 'Kaupin'. On the other hand Bharat cursed himself for being the cause of Sri Ram's miseries. Bharat asked for Sri Ram's forgiveness and said---'O Lord! You had to go into exile only because of me. I can never be absolved of my sin.'

Sri Ram consoled him and after taking Bharat into his embrace enquired about his welfare. He told Bharat that he had to undergo the sufferings of exile because of his own destiny.'You are not at fault. Don't curse yourself for my misery.' said Sri Ram. At last all of them including Bharat boarded Pushpak Viman and the aircraft took- off for

Ayodhya.Continuing with Sri Ram's tale, Sheshnag said--When Sumanth brought the news of Sri Ram's arrival at Ayodhya, people danced in joy, Preparations started being made for Sri Ram's grand reception. The whole city of Ayodhya was decorated with rows of lighted lamps.

Sri Ram and Sita alighted from the Pushpak Viman and both of them were carried in a palanquin to the palace. People stood in queues on both sides of the road with folded hands. Sri Ram blessed them by raising his hand.First of all Ram went to meet Kaikayi who was full of remorse and guilt. Sri Ram consoled her and then went to meet Sumitra to pay his obeisance to her. At last, he went to meet his own mother--Kaushalya, who was dying to see him. Kaushalya blessed Sri Ram, Sita and Laxman.

 Bharat then instructed the royal astrologers to decide upon an auspicious moment for Sri Ram's coronation. Thus Sri Ram became the king of Ayodhya. During his reign peace and prosperity prevailed everywhere. People were virtuous and there was no sign of sin.


People of Ayodhya lived peacefully during Sri Ram's reign until one fateful day when they were struck by a bad news--Sri Ram had abandoned Sita after a Washerman leveled an unfair charge against her character. Such was the greatness of Sri Ram that opinion of each and every individual was given due respect irrespective of his position and status. One day, Sage Agastya arrived in the royal court of Sri Ram. After the formal Salutations were over. Sage Agastya complimented Sri Ram for killing Ravana.

Sri Ram asked Agastya--'Who was Ravana-- the tormentor of deities? I am anxious to know about the origin of his whole clan."

Sage Agastya replied--Vishrava was the grandson of Lord Brahma. His father was sage Pulastya. Vishrava had two wives--Mandakini and Kaikasi. Mandakani's son was Kubera while Kaikasi was the mother of Ravana, Kumbhakarna and Vibhishan. Kubera ruled over Lanka. One day, Kubera, came to see his parents boarded on his aircraft--Pushpak Viman. After he returned to Lanka, Ravana, who was very much impressed by Kubera's royal appearances asked Kaikasi--"Who was this fellow? From where did he acquire such an amazing aircraft."

Kaikasi revealed to Ravana that the guest was none other than his step-brother Kubera. She said--"Kubera is the son of your step mother--Mandakini. He has made his mother proud by his conduct but I am ashamed of you, because of your inconsequential existence. You are no better than a worm."

Ravan decided to prove his mother wrong by acquiring insurmountable power and authority. Ravana went to the forest and performed an austere penance for ten thousand years by standing on one foot. He fixed his gaze at the sun and never for a moment did he remove his gaze from it. Kumbhakarna and Vibhishan also engaged themselves in austere penance. At last, Lord Brahma became pleased and blessed Ravana with a vast kingdom. Ravan then started tormenting his step-brother Kumbhakarna. He snatched Kubera's Pushpak Viman and drove him out of Lanka. Ravan then turned his attention towards the deities and drove them out of heaven. The deities went to seek the help of Lord Brahma who in turn took them to Lord Shiva. Even Lord Shiva was clueless about the means by which the indomitable Ravana could be subdued.

Ultimately all of them including Lord Shiva went to Lord Vishnu and sought his help.

Lord Vishnu assured them by saying ---

"I shall take incarnation as Ram at a place called Ayodhya. Presently, Ayodhya is being ruled by Dashrath, who inspite of having three queens, does not have any son. I shall manifest myself as Ram. Don't worry! I shall eliminate the menace called Ravana." Sage Agastya also told Sri Ram that Ravana belonged to the caste called 'Brahmrakshas'. This way, Sage Agastya after having finished his narration looked at Sri Ram anticipating further queries.


Sri Ram requested sage Agastya to tell about the means by which he could become liberated from the sins of killing brahmins. Sage Agastya advised him to perform Ashwamedha-yagya. He also described the rituals of performing Ashwamedha Yagya--- "Get a horse of white colour and after worshipping it on Vaishakh Purnima leave it to wander freely.

 Tie a piece of paper on its forehead on which your name and other details are mentioned. Soldiers should follow that horse wherever it goes. You should fight a battle against any king who dares to stop the horse. You should lead a celibate life till the horse returns back to the same place from where it had been let loose. It is customary for the performer of Ashwamedha yagya to indulge himself in benevolent deeds till the completion of Ashwamedha yagya." Sri Ram agreed to perform Ashwamedha yagya. He went to the seashore accompanied by numerous sages. He then cultivated a vast expanse of land with the help of a golden plough. A large oblation site was constructed and thus began Ashwamedha yagya under the supervision of Vashishth.


As per the advice of Sage Vashishth, Sri Ram instructed his soldiers to bring a white-horse. A white parasol was fixed on its back and the horse was decorated with colourful clothes. The horse was then let loose and the faithful soldiers of Sri Ram followed it wherever the horse went.A gold-sheet was hanged in the horse's neck and upon which was inscribed--This horse belongs to Sri Ram--the son of Dasharath.

Anybody who dares to stop this horse will meet ruthless punishment.
Shatrughan followed the horse as per the instruction of his elder brother -- Sri Ram. Bharat and Pushkal also accompanied him. A huge army led by Kalnemi was marching behind the horse.


 Some of the kings tried to stop the horse, but were defeated by Shatrughan. This way the horse continued to move ahead without any problem till it reached the bank of river Ganga.It was early morning and Lav after noticing the presence of horse become curious. He went near the horse and tried to read the inscription hanging down it's neck. He made fun of the might of Sri Ram and fastened the horse.The soldiers tried to release the horse but Lav severed their arms. They returned to Shatrughan and narrated the whole incident to him.


Shatrughan became extremely furious after seeing the condition of his injured soldiers. He instructed Kalnemi to teach Lav a lesson. Kalnemi confronted Lav with a huge army and a ferocious battle took place. Lav managed to kill Kalnemi, which created havoc in the rival's army. The surviving soldiers tried to hold their ground but were forced to flee on account of a fierce assault from Lav.

Shatrughan then ordered Pushkal to fight Lav but he became unconscious after being hit by Lav's arrow. Now, Shatrughan's anger crossed all limits and he ordered Hanuman to kill Lav.Hanuman uprooted a large tree and tried to hit Lav, but Lav cut that tree into hundred pieces with a volley of arrows. Lav then released many arrows in the direction of Hanuman. Hanuman fought valiantly but ultimately he fell down unconscious.


When Shatrughan learnt about Hanuman's fate he was infuriated and went to fight Lav. But when he saw a tender looking child in front of him he was surprised. Shatrughan asked --

'O brave child! Who are you! Who is your father?'

But Lav was not interested in his irrelevant queries and challenged him for a duel. Shatrughan was left with no other option but to fight. A tremendous battle was fought between them. Shatrughan released volleys of arrow towards Lav but all of them were neutralized by him.

For a brief time Shatrughan lost his consciousness. After regaining his consciousness, he aimed his most lethal weapon towards Lav. The arrow hit Lav and he fell down unconscious. Lav's companions went and informed Sita about the whole incident. Kush came forward to fight against Sri Ram's army. When he reached the battlefield he saw Lav who was held captive by the enemy's army's. By that time, Lav had regained his consciousness and after seeing Kush he somehow managed to free himself from the clutches of his captors.

Now, both the brothers launched a fierce attack on the enemy. The whole army of Sri Ram started running helter and shelter. It did not take much time for Lav and Kush to vanquish the whole army. All the great warriors like Hanuman, Sugreeva, Pushkal, Angad Veermani and even Shatrughan were either held captive or injured in the battle.Both the brothers fastened Hanuman and Sugreeva with ropes and took them to Sita. Sita immediately recognized Hanuman and Sugreeva. She instructed both her sons to set them free as well as the horse. Lav and Kush followed the instruction of Sita and released everybody from their captivity. Sita then whispered---'May all the dead soldiers become alive.' Her words came true and all the dead soldiers became alive once again. Shatrughan regained his consciousness too.


Shatrughan decided to return to Ayodhya. He instructed Sumati to make all the necessary arrangements for the safe return of the Caravan, which comprised not only of Sri Ram's army but also of all the defeated kings and their vanquished armies. When Sri Ram came to know about their arrival, he sent Laxman to receive them. Laxman received the victorious army with all the honour and the all of them came to the palace. Sri Ram curiously asked Sumati about everything that had happened.

Sumati paraded all the vanquished kings who had made the mistake of stopping the horse-- Sumad, Sabahu, Daman, Satyavan, Surath, etc. He then narrated the brave deed of Lav and Kush.He also revealed how mighty warriors like Hanuman, Sugreeva Shatrughan etc had been defeated by both of them.


Sage Valmiki was present in Ayodhya to attend the Ashwamedha yagya. Sri Ram asked him about the identity of the two children--Lav and Kush, Valmiki said --- Sita was pregnant at the time you had abandoned her. I gave her refuge in my hermitage where she gave birth to twins--Lav and Kush. Both the children were brought up in my hermitage with love and care. I taught them all the sacred texts and scriptures and made them masters of various weaponries. So, Lav and Kush are your sons. You must bring Sita back to Ayodhya with due honour, because she is pure and chaste. Moreover your whole army owe its life to her."

Sri Ram's heart was filled with grief. He instructed Laxman to bring Sita along with Lav and Kush. Laxman went to Valmiki's hermitage and requested Sita to return to Ayodhya. Sita refused to return but sent Lav and Kush along with Laxman. When Sri Ram found that only Lav and Kush had come, he once again sent Laxman to bring Sita. Laxman followed his instruction and went to Valmiki's hermitage for the second time.Meanwhile, Valmiki instructed Lav and Kush to sing the praise of Sri Ram in their melodious voice. Everybody was moved by their soulful rendition. Sri Ram took Lav and Kush in his embrace.


justify return Ayodhya but she refused by saying---?Sri Ram abandoned me. How can I go back him?? Laxman then requested forget whatever had happened. ?It is duty faithful wife forgive her husband?s sins?--said Laxman. At last, Sita agreed and returned Ayodhya. Sri Ram?s joy knew no bound when he saw his beloved consort. He decided to organise a grand finale for the conclusion of Ashwamedha yagya.

Sri Ram eulogised all the revered sages who had arrived to attend the Ashwamedha yagya. The holy water of Saryu was brought and sprinkled in the yagya kund where Ashwamedha yagya was being performed, amidst the chanting of vedic mantras.Hardly had Sri Ram touched the horse with his hands then it transformed into a human being. Everybody was amazed by this incident. Sri Ram asked that man as to how he had attained the form of a horse. The man revealed to the assembled people that he had become a horse due to Durvasa's curse. 'Later on Sage Durvasa had mercy on me and assured that I would regain my human form by the divine touch of Sri Ram.'

Having said this the man attained to the heaven. In course of time Sri Ram organised two more Ashwamedha yagyas and his glory reverberated through all the three worlds.

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