Lord Rama, also known as Ramachandra is considered the seventh avatar of Dashavatar of Lord Vishnu. Lord Rama is the Purna Avatar of Vishnu (Complete Avatar) – Lord Rama and Lord Krishna both are purna avatar as the life of both the avatars in the earth was complete from child to old age. Popularly known as the Hero of Epic Ramayana, Lord Rama was born as a prince of Ayodhya to the father, King Dasharatha and the mother Queen Kausalya. King Dasharatha is said to be the descendant of the Ikshvaku dynasty founded by the legendary king Ikshvaku.
Birth of Lord Rama
On the night day of Chaitra (Lunar Month), Lord Rama was born as the first child of King Dasharatha and Queen Kaikeyi. King Dasharatha was a Solar Dynasty king of Ayodhya, a city on the bank of river Sarayu. Bala Kanda of Ramayana talks about the birth of Lord Rama and his youth age.
The court advisor urged King Dasharatha to offer an Ashwamedha yajna (imperial horse-sacrifice). Rishi Rishyashringa, as the chief priest of this great sacrifice, includes an especially powerful offering rite that can cause the begetting of sons. When the offerings had been placed in the fire, the remnants were divided between the kings’ wives, who ate them. This was the same time when Lanka King, Ravana was troubling in the Swarga Loka, Kingdom of Gods. As the role of preserver, Lord Vishnu incarnated as the son of Dasharata in order to destroy Ravana.
So, after the Ashwamedha yagna was concluded, the three wives of King Dasharatha gave birth to four sons: Rama by Kausalya (in whom Vishnu had incarnated himself), Bharata by Kaikeyi, Lakshmana and Shatrughan by Sumitra. Of these four princes Rama, the eldest, was his father’s favorite, and from his youth, Lakshmana was deeply devoted to his elder brother.
Lord Rama and His Marriage
When Lord Rama and his brothers had grown to manhood, the great sage Vishvamitra came to the court of Dasharatha, complaining that asuras were disrupting the worship at his hermitage with their persistent attacks. At his request, Rama and Lakshmana, went forth with him to slay the asuras, for which they were rewarded with magical weapons. Vishvamitra later accompanied the princes to the court of King Janaka of Videha.
The King Janaka possessed a wonderful bow named Pinaka, popularly known as “Shiva Dhanus”. He had announced that he would give his daughter Sita in marriage only to the man who could draw the bow. Prince Rama was the only one out of many princes from different kingdoms who was able to draw the bow, in fact, he broke it. On the fifth day of the Shukla paksha in the Margashirasha month (November – December) princesses of Janakpurdham Sita married the prince of Ayodhya Ram Chandra. This day is still celebrated as Vivaha Panchami.
Exile – Vanvas
Queen Kaikeyi once was promised by King Dasaratha to grant her any two wishes, which she used when King was about to hand over the kingdom to his elder son, Prince Rama. On the suggestion of her mistress Manthara, Kaikeyi request King Dasharatha to send Rama to 14 years of Vanavasa (Exile to forest) and place Bharata in the Royal Throne of Ayodhya.
Due to the promise King Dasharatha gave earlier to Queen Kaikeyi, he asks his dear son Lord Rama for the fourteen years of Vanavas. The king was tortured by grief and regret, uncertain of what to do, but when Rama learned of the matter, he unhesitatingly accepted his banishment, so that his father should not be guilty of breaking his word.
In vain his mother Queen Kausalya and his brother Lakshmana tried to dissuade him, but he insisted that it is his highest duty (dharma) to help his father to keep his word. He informed his wife of his decision, asking her to be kind to Bharata, to live piously and chastely Dasharatha’s court, and to serve his father and his mothers obediently. But Sita answered him in an eloquent speech on the duties of a woman, declaring that as a devoted wife (pati-vrata) nothing could prevent her from following him into exile in the wilderness.
Just as Savitri once followed her husband Satyavan even to the world of the dead to reclaim him from Yamaraj, king of the underworld, so, she says, will she follow him wherever he must go. Nor can the faithful Lakshmana be dissuaded from joining his brother in exile. And so, stripped of all the trappings of royalty, clothed only in garments of bark, the three went off alone into the wilderness while all of Ayodhya mourned.
Rama Meets Hanuman
In Kishkinda Kanda of Valmiki Ramayana, the first meet of Hanuman and Rama is described. While searching for Sita in the forests of Rushyamukha Parvat near river Pampa, Two brothers encounter Hanuman disguised as a sannyasi on the request of Sugriva.
“You look like Rajarshis and Taapasis but are armed with swords, bows, and arrows. Animals in this jungle are frightened in your presence. Your eyes look like petals of lotus and you have a broad chest. You seem to be unbeatable in a fight and look like the savior of the lives of many. But you seem to be gods disguised as humans. These contradictory observations wonder me a lot.”
He continued “I am Hanuman, Minister of Sugriva. He was banished by Vaali, the King of Kishkinda and elder brother of Sugriva. Sugriva is a righteous person and is seeking your friendship. I want to hear a reply from you.” On seeing Rama, Hanuman gave up his Sanyaas form and took up his original form.
Following the suggestion of Kabandha and Hanuman, Rama ally with Sugriva and help him become the King by killing his brother Vali. Sugriva is consecrated as king, and Angada, the son of Vali, as heir to the throne.
Hanuman, the son of Vayu, was the wisest counselor and minister of Sugriva. Sugriva commissions him to find Sita. Accompanied by a host of monkeys under the leadership of Angada, the resourceful Hanuman sets out toward the south towards Lanka.
Ram Rajya according to many scholars meant that the state (Rajya) was the sole legitimate agency wielding power (force), which imposes limits upon its exercise of power, either for the greater happiness of the people or to evade a greater tyranny that could be caused by moral outrage or self-righteousness.
Ram Rajya, where peace, prosperity, and tranquility reigned, for there was no one to challenge the seat of Ayodhya, literally the land without wars. Incidentally in Hindi, “Ayodhya” means “a place where there is no war.” Hence “Ram Rajya” is described as an ideal society.
It is believed that there were not dacoits during his regime. All led a virtuous life. Nobody spoke any untruth. Anybody could place a bag of gold or jewels even in the main street. No one would touch it even.