KALIDASA (deceased)

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KALIDASA, (kaalidaasa), India's greatest Sanskrit poet and dramatist. In spite of the celebrity of his name, the time when he flourished always has been an unsettled question, although most scholars nowadays favor the middle of the 4th and early 5th centuries A.D., during the reigns of Chandragupta II Vikramaaditya and his successor Kumaaragupta. Undetermined also is the place of Kaalidaasa's principal literary activity, as the frequent and minute geographic allusions in his works suggest that he Traveled extensively. Numerous works have been attributed to his authorship. Most of them, however, are either by lesser poets bearing the same name or by others of some intrinsic worth, whose works simply chanced to be associated with Kaalidaasa's name their own names having long before ceased to be remembered. Only seven are generally considered genuine. Plays. There are three plays, the earliest of which is probably the Malavikaagnimitra ( Malavikaa and Agnimitra), a work concerned with palace intrigue. It is of special interest because the hero is a historical figure, King Agnimitra, whose father, Pushhpamitra, wrested the kingship of northern India from the Mauryan king Brihadratha about 185 B.C. and established the Sunga dvnasty, which held power for more than a century. The Vikramorvashiiya ( Urvashii Won Through Valor) is based on the old legend of the love of the mortal Pururavaas for the heavenly damsel Urvashii. The legend occurs in embryonic form in a hymn of the Rig Veda and in a much amplified version in the ShatapathabraahmaNa. The third play, AbhiGYaanashaakuntala ( Shakuntalaa Recognized by the Token Ring), is the work by which Kaalidaasa is best known not only in India but throughout the world. It was the first work of Kaalidaasa to be translated into English from which was made a German translation in 1791 that evoked the often quoted admiration by Goethe. The raw material for this play, which usually is called in English simply Shaakuntala after the name of the heroine, is contained in the Mahaabhaarata and in similar form also in the PadmapuraaNa, but these versions seem crude and primitive when compared with Kaalidaasa's polished and refined treatment of the story. In bare outline the story of the play is as follows: King Dushhyanta, while on a hunting expedition, meets the hermit-girl Shakuntalaa, whom he marries in the hermitage by a ceremony of mutual consent. Obliged by affairs of state to return to his palace, he gives Shakuntalaa his signet ring, promising to send for her later. But when Shakuntalaa comes to the court for their reunion, pregnant with his child, Dushhyanta fails to acknowledge her as his wife because of a curse. The spell is subsequently broken by the discovery of the ring, which Shakuntalaa had lost on her way to the court. The couple are later reunited, and all ends happily. The influence of the AbhiGYaanashaakuntala outside India is evident not only in the abundance of translations in many languages, but also in its adaptation to the operatic stage by Paderewski, Weinggartner, and Alfano. Poems. In addition to these three plays Kaalidaasa wrote two long epic poems, the Kumaarasambhava ( Birth of Kumaara) and the Raghuvamsha ( Dynasty of Raghu). The former is concerned with the events that lead to the marriage of the god Shiva and Paarvatii, daughter of the Himaalaya. This union was desired by the gods for the production of a son, Kumaara, god of war, who would help them defeat the demon Taaraka. The gods induce Kaama, god of love, to discharge an amatory arrow at Siva who is engrossed in meditation. Angered by this interruption of his austerities, he burns Kaama to ashes with a glance of his third eye. But love for Paarvatii has been aroused, and it culminates in their marriage. The Raghuvamsha treats of the family to which the great hero Rama belonged, commencing with its earliest antecedents and encapsulating the principal events told in the RaamaayaNa of Vaalmikii. But like the Kumaarasambhava, the last nine cantos of which are clearly the addition of another poet, the Raghuvamsha ends rather abruptly, suggesting either that it was left unfinished by the poet or that its final portion was lost early. Finally there are two lyric poems, the Meghaduuta ( Cloud Messenger) and the Ritusamhaara ( Description of the Seasons). The latter, if at all a genuine work of Kaalidaasa, must surely be regarded as a youthful composition, as it is distinguished by rather exaggerated and overly exuberant depictions of nature, such as are not elsewhere typical of the poet. It is of tangential interest, however, that the Ritusamhaara, published in Bengal in 1792, was the first book to be printed in Sanskrit. On the other hand, the Meghaduuta, until the 1960's hardly known outside India, is in many ways the finest and most perfect of all Kaalidaasa's works and certainly one of the masterpiece of world literature. A short poem of 111 stanzas, it is founded at once upon the barest and yet most original of plots. For some unexplained dereliction of duty, a Yaksha, or attendant of Kubera, god of wealth, has been sent by his lord into yearlong exile in the mountains of central India, far away from his beloved wife on Mount Kailasa in the Himaalaya. At the opening of the poem, particularly distraught and hapless at the onset of the rains when the sky is dark and gloomy with clouds, the yaksa opens his heart to a cloud hugging close the mountain top. He requests it mere aggregation of smoke, lightning, water, and wind that it is, to convey a message of consolation to his beloved while on its northward course. The Yaksha then describes the many captivating sights that are in store for the cloud on its way to the fabulous city of Alakaa, where his wife languishes amid her memories of him. Throughout the Meghaduuta, as perhaps nowhere else So plentifully in Kaalidaasa's works, are an unvarying� freshness of inspiration and charm, delight imagerry and fancy, profound insight into the emotions, and a oneness with the phenomena of nature. Moreover, the fluidity and beauty of the language are probably unmatched in Sanskrit literature, a feature all the more remarkable for its inevitable loss in translation.


From: The Hindu World Part I Written by: Benjamin Walker, 1968 Kalidasa (AD ?350-600?) the greatest of the sanskrit dramatists, and the first great name in Sanskrit literature after Ashvaghoshha. In the intervening three centuries between Asvaghosha (who had a profound influence on the poet) and Kalidasa there was some literary effort, but nothing that could compare with the maturity and excellence of Kalidasa's poetry. Virtually no facts are known about his life, although colourful legends abound. Physically handsome, he was supposed to have been a very dull child, and grew up quite uneducated. Through the match-making efforts of a scheming minister he was married to a princess who was ashamed of his ignorance and coarseness. Kalidasa (Kall's slave), an ardent worshipper of Kali, called upon his goddess to help him, and was rewarded with sudden gifts of wit and sense. He became the most brilliant of the nine gems' at the court of Vikramaditya of Ujjain.

There is strong reason to believe that Kalidasa was of foreign origin. His name is unusual, and even the legend suggests that it was adopted. The stigma attaching to the suffix dasa' (slave) was very strong, and orthodox Hindus avoided its use. His devotion to the brahminical creed of his time may betray the zeal of a convert. Remarkably enough, Indian tradition has no reliable data concerning one of its greatest poets, whereas there is a fund of information both historical and traditional about hundreds of lesser literary luminaries. Kalidasa was well acquainted with contemporary sciences and arts, including politics and astronomy. His knowledge of scientific astronomy was manifestly gleaned from Greek sources, and altogether he appears to have been a product of the great synthesis of Indian and barbarian peoples and cultures that was taking place in north-western India in his day. Dr S. Radhakrishnan says, Whichever date we adopt for him we are in the realm of reasonable conjecture and nothing more. Kalidasa speaks very little of himself, and we cannot therefore be sure of his authorship of many works attributed to him. We do not know any details of his life. Numerous legends have gathered round his name, which have no historical value' (II, p. ii). The apocryphal story that he ended his days in Ceylon, and died at the hands of a courtesan, and that the king of Ceylon in grief burned himself to death, is not accepted by his biographers. Listed below are the chief works attributed to Kalidasa. Shaakuntal, with a theme borrowed from the Mahabharata, is a drama in seven acts, rich in creative fancy. It is a masterpiece of dramatic skill and poetic diction, expressing tender and passionate sentiments with gentleness and moderation, so lacking in most Indian literary works. It received enthusiastic praise from Goethe. Malavikaagnimitra (Malavika and Agnimitra) tells the story of the love of Agnimitra of Vidisha, king of the Shungas, for the beautiful handmaiden of his chief queen. In the end she is discovered to be of royal birth and is accepted as one of his queens. The play contains an account of the raajasuuya sacrifice performed by Pushyamitra, and a rather tiresome exposition of a theory on music and acting. It is not a play of the first order. Vikramorvashi (Urvashii won by Valour), a drama of the troTaka class relating how king Pururavas rescues the nymph Urvashii from the demons. Summoned by Indra he is obliged to part from her. The fourth act on the madness of Pururavas is unique. Apart from the extraordinary soliloquy of the demented lover in search of his beloved, it contains several verses in Prakrit. After many trials the lovers are reunited in a happy ending. Meghaduuta (Cloud Messenger): the theme of this long lyrical poem is a message sent by an exiled yaksha in Central India to his wife in the Himalayas, his envoy being a megha or cloud. Its beautiful descriptions of nature and the delicate expressions of love in which passion is purified and desire ennobled, likewise won the admiration of Goethe. Raghuvamsha (Raghu's genealogy), a mahaakavya, regarded by Indian critics as Kalidasa's best work, treats of the life of Rama, together with a record of his ancestors and descendants. There are many long descriptions, large parts of which are contrived and artificial. Only one king in this pious dynasty fails to come up to the ideal standard, namely, Agnivarna. Rituu-samhaara, (Seasonal Cycle), a poem describing the six seasons of the year in all their changing aspects. Kumaara-sambhava (Kumaara's Occasioning), usually translated The Birth of the War-god', a mahaakavya relating how Parvati won the love of Siva in order to bring into the world Kumara (i.e. Karttikeya) the god of war to destroy the demon Taraka. The last few cantos are usually omitted from printed versions, being of an excessively erotic nature. This is especially true of Canto VIII where the embraces of the newly-wedded divine couple are dwelled upon in vivid detail. Great as Kalidasa was, it has been observed that he had his literary weaknesses. He showed no interest in the social problems of his day; his plays do not reflect the tumultuous times in which he lived; he felt no sympathy for the lot of the common man; his work is overburdened with description, and is sentimental, wordy and at times coarse. Within his range he was unsurpassed by any of the dramatists who wrote in the Sanskrit language, but this does not amount to much, for the general standard of Sanskrit drama is not on a par with the best elsewhere. Comparing his works with those of the Persians, Arabs, Greeks and Europeans, and by the same strict standards of criticism, Max Muller declares, Kalidasa's plays are not superior to many plays that have been allowed to rest in dust and peace on the shelves of our libraries'.

Kings of Ayodhya before and after Rama.

Rama was very much a historical figure who ruled from Ayodhya a few thousands of years ago. The details of the line of kings before and after Rama are available in olden texts. The kings associated with some of the places have a bearing on the names of those places even today.

The lineage until Rama is given in Valmeeki Ramayana. 39 kings were there in the lineage before Rama. But counting from Ikshvaaku, the founder of the Ikshvaaku dynasty, there were 34 kings before Rama. This lineage is told by Vasishta, the Kula Guru, at the time of Rama's marriage, as it was the custom to present the lineage of forefathers to the assemblage of dignitaries and the people of the bride's household. This lineage takes into account only the eldest of the family who inherits the throne. King Sibi comes in the lineage of siblings and not the first born. In lineage comes Chola varman who founded the Chola dynasty in the South. Taking the name from Sibi, the Cholans called themselves as Sembians.

kings a24 re mentioned aftion from king Dileepan and then goes to Raghu. ter Rama in Raghu vamsa which was named after King Raghu, the ancestor of Rama who made military expeditions to all parts of Bharat. He went to the west, to the region of Indus river and far beyond and conquered the lands there. He went to the east India, then turned south and from there he went along the west coast of India and reached back to his place. King Raghu has thus established his rule throughout Bharat The kings who succeeded Rama are given in Raghu Vamsa by Mahakavi Kalidasa. varsha. According to Kalidasa, Rama is the great grand son of Raghu. He starts the narra Raghu's son was Aja. In the narration of Aja's marriage, there comes the description of swayamvar of Indumathi. Aja takes part in the Swayamwar and wins her hand. The interesting piece of information for us in this part of Raghu vamsa is that the Pandyan king also took part in the Swayawar!

There is a detailed description of that king in Raghu vamsa. The bride's friend Sunanda who introduced the kings said of the Pandyan king as one who had rich lands. If the princess chose to marry him she would have only his land as her co-wife (other wife of the king). By a specific mention like this, it is implied that the Pandyan kings were the up-holders of Eka patni vratham.

Another interesting piece of information is that the Pandyans had won over Ravana. Ravana had bought peace with the Pandyan kings. This information is also found in the copper plates unearthed at Sinanmanurwhich lists down the name and feats of Pandyan kings.

However there is confusion over the time periods here. Victory over Ravana is mentioned at a place where Rama's grandfather was seeking his bride. Rama was 2 generations away from that time and was yet to be born. But Ravana's early tiff with Pandyans finds a mention there.

I think the Kavi had added up the information that happened later. While composing the verses in praise of the kings who participated in the swayamwar, he had cobbled up the valiant feats connected with the king's dynasty and attributed them to the king in focus.

Rama's grand father Aja marries Indumati in the Swayamwat. His son was Dasaratha to whom Rama was born. From Dileepan to Rama, the lineage is not completely told by Kalidasa as Valmeeki does. But Kalidasa explains what happened after Rama's times.

Let us see what happened to the sons of Rama and his brothers. All the brothers had 2 sons each.

Shatrugna's sons:- Bahu-shruta – becomes the king of Mathura. Subahu – becomes the king of Vidisha

Bharatha and his sons:-

Then Rama made over the country named Sindhu to Bharata with full sovereign authority, at the message of Yudhajit, the maternal uncle of Bharata. [15-87 Raghu vamsa]

Note here that what is now being told as the bastion of Dravidians was originally ruled by Bharatha! His maternal uncle's home is in Kekayaand the route to go that place is described in Valmeeki Ramayana. That route goes through Indus, Baluchisthan and crossing across Bolan pass and then reaching the fringes of Caspian sea. Kekaya was somewhere in today's Kazhaksthaan. We can expect archeological proof of "Aryan" in Kazhaksthaan soon which was actually the home town of Kaikeyi.

Kalidasa proceeds to say that in the Sindhu region Bharata conquered the Gandharva-s in battle and compelled them to take up lutes forgoing their warlike weapons. [15-88] The Gandharvas are semi-divine beings who are the heavenly singers and musicians. They were the dwellers in the country known by the name of Sindhu i.e. the country situated on both sides of the river Indus. The Gandharvas were forced to go back to their hereditary profession of musicians (says Kalidasa)

I will write about the Gandharvas in the upcoming posts, but for the time being, let me say that Gandharvas belonged to today's Kandhaharwhich was the home town of Gandhari, the mother of Kauravas. Bharata's route to Kekaya in Valmeeki Ramayana goes through Kandhahar. Perhaps Bharata was keen on conquering the places en route his maternal country. It is mentioned on valmeeki Ramayana that Bharatha's grandfather and uncle sent along with him a contingent of warriors on his way back to Ayodhya ( when he was called back on the death of Dasaratha) presumably to protect him from attacks by the kingdoms on the way. When he got a chance, I think Bharata made sure that no opponent was there on the way to Kekaya. The entire Indusregion stretching up to Kazakhstan's border was thus already under occupation by Bharata. The Dravidian occupation does not match with the history of Bharath.

Now about Bharatha's sons. Taksha and Pushkala were given to the sons of Bharata. Taksha is Taxila and Pushkala is Peshawar.

Lakshmana's sons:-

Lakshmana's two sons Angada and Chandraketu became the rulers ofKAra-patha kingdom. [15-90]

Rama's sons:- Kusha was made the king of Kushavati, on the Vindhyas. Lava was made the king of Sharavati.

The end of Rama All the people of Ayodhya joined Rama in leaving the earthy plane. All of them entered the river Sarayua and had jala Samadhi. The city wore a deserted look after their exit. As told by Kalidasa:- Having placed Kusha, who was like the goading-rod to his elephant-like hostile princes, in Kushavati; having placed Lava, who drew drops of tears of joy by his witticisms from the eyes of the good, in Sharavati, that firm-minded Rama with his younger brothers and with the fire-tray carried in front of him started for the North while the inhabitants of Ayodhya precipitately leaving their homes followed him out of devotion to their lord. [15-97, 98]

While there arrived a heavenly aircraft for himself, that kind-hearted one to his adherers Rama made the Sarayu River as staircase to heavens for his followers who wish to discard their earthly forms and ascend to heaven. [15-100]

Since the concourse of people seeking a plunge was great at that spot it looked almost like go-pratam, a line of closely packed cows swimming across, and as a consequence became celebrated as a sacred spot under that name, go-pratara, on this earth. [15-101]

What happened after the exit of Rama?

The sons of Rama and his brothers were in their kingdoms assigned to them at the time of Rama's exit. None of them knew what happened at Ayodhya. But Rama's son Kusha could not sleep well at that night. The goddess of Ayodhya, pained by the exit of all her subjects appeared before Kusha (in dream?) and begged Kusha to return to the old capital, Ayodhya. The next morning Kusha announced the vision of the night, and immediately set out for Ayodhya with his whole army. Arrived there, King Kusha quickly restored the city to its former splendour.

He married Kumudavati and had a son Athithi from her.

The lineage after Rama:-

1) Kusha 2) Athithi 3) Nishadha 4) Nala 5) Nabhas 6) PundarIka 7) Kshema- dhanva 8) devAnIka, 9) ahInagu 10) pAriyAtra, 11) shila 12) unnAbha (this name was because his naval was very deep, and he appeared almost like Vishnu) 13) vajraNAbha 14) shankhaNa 15) vyuShitAshva (on account of his having quartered his soldiery and horses on seacoasts) 16) vishva-saha 17) hiraNya-nAbha 18) kausalya (son) 19) brahmiShTha 20) putra 21) puShya, (devotee of the great sage Jaimini.) 22) dhruva-sandhi (killed by a lion while hunting) 23) sudarshana, ( an year old when his father died) 24) agnivarNa (indulged in pleasure life.)

With this, Kalidasa ends Raghu vamsam. This king AgnivarNa did not have any issue from any of the women he enjoyed and died of diseases of his bad habits. But Kalidasa says that his queen was pregnant at the time of his death and was made Regina on behalf of unborn son.

Scholars are of differing opinion on why Kalidasa ended abruptly. There is an opinion that there must have been a remaining part of Raghu vamsa which was lost.

But according to me, looking at the lineage and the description about the kings by Kalidasa, there are some interesting features.

The kings 21 generations before Rama and 21 generations after Rama have had a successful and highly respectful life. There had never been immoral behaviour reported in them or in their kingdom. There were no unnatural or premature deaths. The kings had lived full life and been just rulers. There had been no invasions or rivalries reported.

In the above list of the kings who succeeded Rama , until Pushya, the 21st king, the narration contains nothing other than good things. The 22nd king was killed by lion while he was on a hunting expedition. His son was only a year old then. The name of the king Dhruva sandhi itself seems to indicate a shift to another era! I am thinking of the probable connections of this name to yuga / era classifications. I will write them later.

From Dhruva sandhi onwards, the descendants were of lesser quality. Perhaps due to this deterioration noticed further, Kalidasa stopped the narration with agnivarNa.

Similarly 21 generations before Rama ( as given by Valmeeki) Sagara was the ruler. His sons had an unnatural death at the curse of sage Kapila. River Ganga was brought to give salvation to them. Where they attained their salvation is the Setu at Rameshwaram. (please read my old posts on this topic)

In Sagara's father's times, sibling rivalry was first noticed in the lineage. The practice was to pass on the throne to the eldest son. But the other sons and relatives fought for the throne in Asita's period. Asita lost the throne. When Asita died, his wife was pregnant. Sagara was born to her and with the guidance of sage Chyavana he fought with the detractors and got back the throne. He exiled them to the fringes of Bhratha varsha. They were called as Mlechas as they were ordained to follow non-vedic life. They occupied what is now Assyria, Iran, Iraq etc. Assyria derives the name from Asita in whose honour Sagara fought and won.

After Sagara the lineage went on smoothly and with great honours. This constituted 21 generations before Rama. Similarly 21 generations after Rama the lineage was smooth and highly moralistic. Such a status changed only after 21 generations.

This coincidence makes me connect this to the oft told dictum that one is connected with 21 generations before and after. Rama coming at the centre of this line- up makes me think that the best conduct for 21 generations would result in the birth of a supreme person (su-putran) as Rama. Likewise Rama's in-thing will get manifest for 21 generations after him.

The lineage before Rama as given by Valmeeki:-

1- Brahma, 2-Mariichi

3- Kaashyapa

4- Sun

5- Manu (Manu is the earliest Prajaapati -"manuH prajaapatiH puurvam")

6- Ikshvaaku (first king of Ayodhya)

7- Kukshi

8- Vikukshi

9- Baana

10- Anaranya

11- Pruthu

12- Trishanku

13- Dhundumaar

14- Yuvanaashva

15- Mandhaata

16- Susandhi

17- Dhruvasandhi

18- Bharata

19- Asita

20- Sagara

21- Asamanja

22- Amshuman

23- Diliipa

24- Bhageeratha

25- Kakutstha

26- Raghu

27- Pravriddha

28- Shankana

29- Sudarshana

30- Agnivarsna

31- Shiigraga

32- Maru

33- Prashushruka

34- Ambariisha

35- Nahusha

36- Yayaati

37- Naabhaaga

38- Aja

39- Dasharatha

40- Rama

view all

KALIDASA's Timeline


We, Indians, are the products of one of the oldest civilisations. We need to be
really proud of our ancient history and cultural heritage. However, during the
British Rule, we developed an inferiority complex, which adversely affected our
quest to unearth facts relating to our glorious past. But our young and educated
men and women, being born and brought up in independent India, are capable
of unearthing the true facts and are confident enough to evaluate these objectively.
Shri Rama being most basic to Indian ‘ethos’, it is necessary to know who is
Shri Rama? Was he really born? If yes, when and where? As is believed by crores
of people did he really put his feet on the territory of India from North to South,
reducing the sufferings of mankind and ensuring victory of good over evil? Let
us have a look at historical facts.

The story of Shri Rama’s life was first narrated by Maharishi Valmiki in the
‘Ramayan’ which was written after Shri Rama was crowned as the king of Ayodhya.
Maharishi Valmiki was a great astronomer as he has made sequential astronomical
references on important dates related to the life of Shri Rama indicating the
location of planets vis-a-vis zodiac constellations and the other visible stars
(nakshatras). Needless to add that similar position of planets and nakshatras
vis-a-vis zodiac constellations is not repeated in thousands of years. By entering
the precise details of the planetary configuration of the important events in the life
of Shri Rama as given in the Valmiki’s Ramayan in the software named
‘Planetarium Gold’ corresponding exact dates of these events according to English
calendar can be known.
Sh. Pushkar Bhatnagar of Indian Revenue Service had acquired from USA the
software named ’Planetarium Gold’ (of Fogware Publishing) which is used to
predict the solar/lunar eclipses and distance and location of other planets from
earth by the scientists and astronomers. He entered the relevant details about the
planetary positions vis-a-vis zodiac constellations narrated by Maharishi Valmiki
and obtained very interesting and convincing results, which almost determine the
important dates starting from the birth of Shri Rama to the date of his coming
back to Ayodhya after 14 years of exile. Sh. Pushkar Bhatnagar has given very Historicity of the Eras of Lord Rama and Shri Krishna
authentic and convincing details of these dates in his book titled ‘Dating the Era
of Lord Rama’ published by Rupa & Co., some extracts from which are being
summarised in the succeeding paras.
Date of Birth of Lord Rama
Maharishi Valmiki has recorded in Bal Kaand Sarga 18 and Shloka 8 & 9
(1/18/8, 9) that Shri Rama was born on 9th tithi of Chaitra month during day time
when the position of different planets vis-a-vis zodiac constellations and nakshatras
(visible stars) was as under:
(i) Sun in Aries (ii) Saturn in Libra
(iii) Jupiter in Cancer (iv) Venus in Pisces
(v) Mars in Capricorn (vi) Lunar month of Chaitra
(vii) Ninth day after no moon
(viii) Lagna as Cancer (Cancer was rising in the east)
(ix) Moon on the Punarvasu (Gemini constellation and Pollux star)
This data was fed into the ‘Planetarium Gold’ software, the results indicated
that this was exactly the location of planets/stars vis-a-vis zodiac constellations on
the 10th of January noon time in the year 5114 BC if viewed from latitude/
longitude of Ayodhya (25°N 81°E). Thus Shri Rama was born on 10th January
in 5114 BC (i.e. 7117 years back). By making use of software to convert solar
calendar into lunar calendar, it was found that this date also happened to be the
9th day of Shukla Paksha in ‘Chaitra’ month and the time was around 12 to 1
noontime. This is exactly the time and date when Ram Navmi is celebrated all over
India till date. The relevant sky view generated by Planetarium Software is enclosed.
Date of Exile of Shri Rama
In Valmiki’s Ramayan it is mentioned in Ayodhya Kaand (2/4/18) that Dashratha
wanted to make Shri Rama the king because Sun, Mars and Rahu had surrounded
his nakshatra and normally under such planetary configuration the king dies or
becomes a victim of conspiracies. Zodiac sign of king Dashratha was Pisces and
his nakshatra was Rewati. This planetary configuration was prevailing on the 5th
of January 5089 BC and it was on this day that Shri Rama had to leave Ayodhya
for 14 years. Thus he was 25 years old at that time (5114-5089) and there are
several shlokas in Valmiki’s Ramayan which indicate that Shri Rama was 25 years
old when he left Ayodhya for his 14 years of exile.Historicity of the Era of Lord Rama
Solar Eclipse during War with Khar-Dushan
Valmiki’s Ramayan refers to the solar eclipse at the time of war with Khar-Dushan
in later half of 13th year of Shri Rama’s living in forests. Valmiki has also mentioned
that it was Amavasya day and planet Mars was in the middle. When this data was
entered, the computer software indicated that there was a solar eclipse on 7th
October, 5077 BC (Amavasya day) which could be seen from Panchvati
Planetary position on 10th January, 5114 BC
– the date on which Rama was born Historicity of the Eras of Lord Rama and Shri Krishna
(20°N 73°E). On that date planetary configuration was the same as has been
described by Valmiki, i.e., Mars was in the middle, on one side was Venus and
Mercury and on the other side were Sun and Saturn.
Planetary position on 7th October, 5077 BC (Amavasya)
– the day of Solar Eclipse, when Lord Rama fought the battle with Khar.Historicity of the Era of Lord Rama
Other Important Dates
Only six of the twelve constellations remain above the horizon at the same time.
Valmiki’s Ramayan contains graphic and poetic details of eight constellations during
Hanuman’s return journey from Sri Lanka to Sunaabh Hill in the middle of the
sea which apparently took about four and a half hours from 6:30 a.m. to 11 a.m.
All these details of planets and nakshtras with reference to eight constellations
described in Sarga 57(1,2,3) of chapter 5 tally exactly with the sky view generated
by the software for the morning of 14th September 5076 BC.
Planetary position on 14th September, 5076 BC at 6.30 a.m.
– the date and time of Hanuman’s return from Lanka.Historicity of the Eras of Lord Rama and Shri Krishna
The date and time of Hanuman’s return from Lanka – 14th September, 5076 BC.
This slide shows the time when Hanuman reached the middle of the sea
to rest on a small hill.
On the basis of planetary configurations described in various other chapters of
Valmiki’s Ramayan, the date on which Ravana was killed works out to be 4th
December 5076 BC and Shri Rama completed 14 years of exile on 2nd January,
5075 BC and that day was also Navami of Shukla Paksha in Chaitra month. Thus
Shri Rama had come back to Ayodhya when he was 39 years old (5114 – 5075).Historicity of the Era of Lord Rama
Such sequential matching of important dates in the life of Lord Rama narrated
in Valmiki’s Ramayan with astronomical dating done through planetary
configurations cannot be a mere coincidence. It speaks volumes about the historicity
of the era of Lord Rama!
Sequential Details of Places Visited by Shri Rama
during 14 Years of Exile
Many researchers, including a colleague Dr. Ram Avtar, have researched on places
visited by Shri Rama during 14 years of exile. They sequentially moved to the
places stated as visited by Shri Rama in the Valmiki’s Ramayan. Starting from
Ayodhya, they went right upto Rameshwaram. They found 195 places which still
have the memorials connected to the events relating to the life of Shri Rama and
Sita. The locals believe that Shri Rama had actually visited these places. Ayodhya
Kand, Aranya Kand, Kishkindha Kand and Sunder Kand (chapters 2, 3, 4 & 5)
give sequential and graphic details of these places which mostly included Rishi
ashrams located along several river banks. These details can be divided into 5

1st Phase – Gangetic Belt
They went to Tamsa Nadi Tal (Mandah) – 20 km from Ayodhya, thereafter
crossed Gomti river (Point no. 2 to 7 of the given map). Then they reached
Ganges and entered Shringverpur (Singraur) which was kingdom of Nishadraj
Guh and is famous for Kewat prasang (20 km from Allahabad).
After crossing Yamuna near Sangam they reached Chitrakoot on UP and MP
borders - memorials include Valmiki Ashram, Mandavya Ashram, Bharat Koop etc.
still exist. After Bharat Milap they left Chitrakoot and went to Atri Ashram
located in Satana in MP.

2nd Phase in Dandak Van
Along with Laxman and Sita, Shri Rama extensively travelled through this land of
rivulets and water bodies and dense forests around MP and Chhatisgarh.
They roamed around in Dandak Aranya area and visited Sharbhang and
Sutikshan Muni ashrams in Satna (Point no. 36-41 of the given map). Thereafter,Historicity of the Eras of Lord Rama and Shri Krishna
they visited several Rishi ashrams in MP and Chattisgarh areas, along Narmada
and Mahanadi rivers for 10 years, and then came back to Sutikshan ashram.
Several memorials in Panna, Raipur, Bastar and Jagdalpur still exist which include
Mandavya ashram, Shringi ashram, Ram Laxman Mandir etc.
After crossing many rivers, lakes, hills and forests they went to Agastya ashram
in Nasik. As per Valmiki, weapons made in Agnishala were given to Shri Rama
by Agastya Muni in this ashram.

3rd Phase along Godavari
Shri Rama, Laxman and Sita travelled along Godavari. From Agastya ashram they
went to stay in Panchvati – a place with 5 Vata trees located on banks of Godavari
in Nasik (Point no. 116 of the given map). This place is famous for Sharoopnakha
episode and war with Khar and Dushan.
There are memorials at the place where Mareech was stated as killed; these
include Mrigvyadheshwar and Baneshwar. Infact, Nasik area is full of memorials,
e.g., Sita Sarovar, Ram Kund and Triambakeshwar and Janasthan etc.
After this incident, Sita was abducted by Ravana, who also killed Jatayu—
memorial ‘Sarvatiratha’ in Taked Village, 56 km from Nasik, is still preserved.

4th Phase along Tungbhadra and Kaveri
Shri Rama and Laxman extensively travelled through these areas in search of Sita.
After meeting Jatayu and Kabandh they moved towards south to reach
Rishyamook Parbat. On way they visited Shabari ashram in Pampasarovar area
which is now known as Sureban in Belgaon and is still famous for Ber trees.
(Point no. 146 and 147 of the given map.)
After crossing forests of Sandalwood, many gardens and water bodies, they
went towards Rishyamook. Here they met Hanuman and Sugreev, and were shown
Sita’s ornaments. Shri Rama killed Bali in this area.
Rishyamook and Kishkindha are located in Hampi, Distt. Ballari of Karnataka.

5th Phase on the Banks of the Sea
Rama with sena marched towards the sea. After crossing Malay Parbat, Chandan
forests, many rivers and ponds they went along Kaveri River. Details of travel
narrated in Valmiki’s Ramayan tally with the existing memorials.Historicity of the Era of Lord Rama
Places visited by Lord Rama during Exile (shown in red spots)
Historicity of the Eras of Lord Rama and Shri Krishna
Ram-sena first camped in Koddikarai but later moved to Rameshwaram for
construction of bridge and there are many memorials to commemorate this event
in Chhedukarai. After surveying the sea area the place was found unsuitable for
constructing the bridge. Therefore, Shri Rama shifted the entire army to
Rameshwaram. After surveying the place for three days, suitable area was identified
and the bridge was constructed under the supervision of great shilpakar Nal. In
Rameshwaram, particularly from Dhanushkoti, the boatmen still take visitors in
glass boats to show remains of Rama’s bridge, but it is considered fashionable to
call it Adam’s bridge instead of calling it by its historical name i.e. Rama’s bridge.
Sri Lankan government wants to construct a land route over this submerged
bridge (Pamban to Mannar) whereas Government of India wants to blast it for
shipping i.e. Sethusamndaram project. Shri Jaisurya, Energy Minister of Sri Lanka
had proposed construction of land route between India and Sri Lanka on this
submerged Rama Sethu.

Ancestors of Shri Rama
Indian history has recorded that Shri Rama belonged to Surya Vansh and he was
the 64th ruler of this dynasty. Most of the names and other relevant particulars
of previous 63 kings are listed in ‘Ayodhya Ka Itihas’ written about eighty years
back by Rai Bahadur Sita Ram. In fact most of the names of these ancestors of
Lord Rama have been listed in Valmiki Ramayan itself as narrated by Vashistha
Muni to Raja Janak (1/70 & 71). Professor Subhash Kak of Lousiana University
(USA), in his book “The Astronomical Code of the Rigveda” has also listed
63 ancestors of Shri Rama who ruled over Ayodhya. The ancestors of Shri Rama
have been traced out as under: –
Shri Rama, s/o King Dashratha, s/o King Aja, s/o King Raghu, s/o. Dirghabahu,
s/o King Dilipa-II, s/o. King Visvasaha and so on) ............... (all listed) ...............
King Sagar (40th Ruler) ............... Satyavadi Harish Chandra (33rd King) ............... .
Professor Subhash Kak has also traced out 29 descendants of Shri Rama
starting with his son Kusa f/o Atithi, f/o Nisadha, f/o Nala ............... (all listed)
............... 94th Ruler of Ayodhya being Brihatksaya.Historicity of the Era of Lord Rama
Ancestors & descendants of Shri Rama
who was the 64th Ruler of Surya Vansh
1. Manu 33. Hariscandra 65. Kusa
2. Iksvaku 34. Rohita 66. Atithi
3. Vikuksi-Sasada 35. Harita, Cancu 67. Nisadha
4. Kakutstha 36. Vijaya 68. Nala
5. Anenas 37. Ruruka 69. Nabhas
6. Prithu 38. Vrka 70. Pundarika
7. Vistarasva 39. Bahu (Asita) 71. Ksemadhanvan
8. Ardra 40. Sagara 72. Devanika
9. Yuvanasva (I) 41. Asamanjas 73. Ahinagu
10. Sravasta 42. Amsumant 74. Paripatra
11. Brihadasva 43. Dilipa (I) 75. Bala
12. Kuvalasva 44. Bhagiratha 76. Uktha
13. Drdhasva 45. Sruta 77. Vajranabha
14. Pramoda 46. Nabhaga 78. Sankhan
15. Haryasva (I) 47. Amabarisa 79. Vyusitasva
16. Nikumba 48. Sindhudvipa 80. Visvasaha (II)
17. Samhatasva 49. Ayutayus 81. Hiranyabha
18. Akrsasva 50. Rtuparna 82. Pusya
19. Prasenajit 51. Sarvakama 83. Dhruvasandhi
20. Yuvanasva (II) 52. Sudasa 84. Sudarsana
21. Mandhatr 53. Mitrasaha 85. Agnivarna
22. Purukutsa 54. Asmaka 86. Sighra
23. Trasadsyu 55. Mulaka 87. Maru
24. Sambhuta 56. Sataratha 88. Prasusruta
25. Anaranya 57. Aidavida 89. Susandhi
26. Trasadsva 58. Visvasaha (I) 90. Amarsa
27. Haryasva (II) 59. Dilipa (II) 91. Mahashwat
28. Vasumata 60. Dirghabahu 92. Visrutavant
29. Tridhanvan 61. Raghu 93. Brihadbala
30. Trayyaruna 62. Aja 94. Brihatksaya
31. Trishanku 63. Dasaratha
32. Satyavrata 64. RamaHistoricity of the Eras of Lord Rama and Shri Krishna
Satellite Images of Rama’s Bridge
In Valmiki’s Ramayana, it is mentioned that Shri Rama’s army constructed a
bridge over the sea between Rameshwaram and Sri Lanka. After crossing this
bridge Shri Rama’s army had defeated Ravana and liberated Sita from his captivity.
Recently NASA had put pictures on internet of a bridge, the ruins of which are
lying submerged in Palk Strait between Rameswaram (Dhanushkoti) and Mannar
(Thalaimannar). The bridge is composed of a series of islands, rocks, and shoals
and it is stated to be 30 kilometres long. It is found exactly at the location narrated
in Valmiki’s Ramayan! See NASA picture of this Bridge!
Picture of submerged bridge between Rameshwaram & Sri LankaHistoricity of the Era of Lord Rama
In Yuudh Kand, sarg 22 (shlokas 45-73) Valmiki has narrated in detail that
originally Shri Rama’s army camped in Kodikarai but found that place unsuitable
for constructing the bridge. Therefore, the entire army was shifted to Rameswaram.
Research was carried out by Shri Rama for three days to find out a suitable
location in the sea for constructing the land route so that the army could cross
over to Sri Lanka. Finally, the suitable location was identified. Shri Nal, a famous
shilpakar, who had the expertise similar to that of Vishwakarma in constructing the
bridges, was requested to construct the bridge (6/22/45).
After carrying out the survey, Nal declared that a bridge can indeed be
constructed at the identified location. The armymen of Shri Rama utilized various
tools and implements for uprooting trees like Taar, coconut, mango, ashoka, bakul
etc., and with the help of various yantras transported these trees, stones, and rocks
to the seashore. Shilpakar Nal directed the armymen to stand with long ropes/
chains on either side and filled the space in between with creepers, trees, stones
and rocks and bound them together. The construction of Ramsethu was completed
See the Boundaries looking like ropes & the fillings in betweenHistoricity of the Eras of Lord Rama and Shri Krishna
in five days by connecting the existing land route consisting of islands, rocks and
shoals. See some latest pictures which apparently corroborate such descriptions!
Use of Ramsethu as Land Route between India and Sri Lanka
This bridge was being used as land route between India and Sri Lanka for thousands
of years, though sometimes part of it was submerged under the seawater. The
website Google Earth contains interesting as well as authentic pictures of
submerged Ramsethu whereas the website of Chicago University
http://dsal.uchicago.edu/reference/schwartzberg/ displays most authentic
historical atlas of South Asia and has placed pictures of Ramsethu for the period
starting from vedic era and 5th century BC to 19th century AD along with
nomenclature of Ramsethu prevailing at the relevant times!
Maps from Historical Atlas of South Asia by J.E. Schwartzberg
In the ‘Historical Atlas of South Asia’ prepared by Joseph E. Schwartzberg
(1978) and placed on its website by the university of Chicago, there are more than
20 maps giving historical as well as geographical evidence about the existence of
this Ramsethu and its use as land route between India and Sri Lanka during last
more than 2500 years. In some of the maps it is shown as a complete bridge used
as land route and in some others a part of it is shown as submerged.

Route followed by Sri Rama for travelling from Ayodhya to Sri Lanka has been
shown and picture of this bridge has clearly been included in the given map on
the next page (top).
During the time of Mauryan empire (321–181 BC), exchange of embassies
between King Ashoka of India and Tissa of Sri Lanka and visit of Asoka’s son
Mahindra are shown as undertaken by partly using land route between Koti
(Dhanushkoti) and Tambapanni (also known as Mahatirtha). In an Ajanta painting
the scene of landing of King Vijay in Ceylon in about 3rd century BC has been
depicted along with elephants, horses and foot soldiers which obviously was possible
only if land route was used for travelling from Rameswaram to Sri Lanka
(given in map on next page – bottom)
.Historicity of the Era of Lord Rama
MAP NOT TO SCALEHistoricity of the Eras of Lord Rama and Shri Krishna
During the Satavahan-Sak-Kushan Age (1–300 AD) Schwartzberg ha

by Valmiki

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Bala Kanda
Main article: Balakanda
Dasharatha was the king of Ayodhya. He had three queens: Kausalya, Kaikeyi and Sumitra. He was childless for a long time and, anxious to produce an heir, he performs a fire sacrifice known as Putra-Kameshti Yagya.[30] As a consequence, Rama is first born to Kausalya, Bharata is born to Kaikeyi, and Lakshmana and Shatrughna are born to Sumitra.[31][32] These sons are endowed, to various degrees, with the essence of the God Vishnu; Vishnu had opted to be born into mortality in order to combat the demon Ravana, who was oppressing the Gods, and who could only be destroyed by a mortal.[33] The boys are reared as the princes of the realm, receiving instructions from the scriptures and in warfare. When Rama is 16 years old, the sage Vishwamitra comes to the court of Dasharatha in search of help against demons, who were disturbing sacrificial rites. He chooses Rama, who is followed by Lakshmana, his constant companion throughout the story. Rama and Lakshmana receive instructions and supernatural weapons from Vishwamitra, and proceed to destroy the demons.[34]

Janaka was the king of Mithila. One day, a female child was found in the field by the king in the deep furrow dug by his plough. Overwhelmed with joy, the king regarded the child as a "miraculous gift of God". The child was named Sita, the Sanskrit word for furrow.[35] Sita grew up to be a girl of unparalleled beauty and charm. When Sita was of marriageable age, the king decided to have aswayamvara which included a contest. The king was in possession of an immensely heavy bow, presented to him by the God Shiva: whoever could wield the bow could marry Sita. The sage Vishwamitra attends the swayamvarawith Rama and Lakshmana. Only Rama wields the bow and breaks it. Marriages are arranged between the sons of Dasharatha and daughters of Janaka. Rama gets married to Sita, Lakshmana to Urmila, Bharata to Mandavi and Shatrughan to Shrutakirti. The weddings are celebrated with great festivity at Mithila and the marriage party returns to Ayodhya.[34]
Ayodhya Kanda
After Rama and Sita have been married for twelve years, an elderly Dasharatha expresses his desire to crown Rama, to which the Kosala assembly and his subjects express their support.[36][37] On the eve of the great event, Kaikeyi—her jealousy aroused by Manthara, a wicked maidservant—claims two boons that Dasharatha had long ago granted her. Kaikeyi demands Rama to be exiled into wilderness for fourteen years, while the succession passes to her son Bharata. The heartbroken king, constrained by his rigid devotion to his given word, accedes to Kaikeyi's demands.[38]Rama accepts his father's reluctant decree with absolute submission and calm self-control which characterizes him throughout the story.[39] He is joined by Sita and Lakshmana. When he asks Sita not to follow him, she says, "the forest where you dwell is Ayodhya for me and Ayodhya without you is a veritable hell for me."[40] After Rama's departure, king Dasharatha, unable to bear the grief, passes away.[41] Meanwhile, Bharata who was on a visit to his maternal uncle, learns about the events in Ayodhya. Bharata refuses to profit from his mother's wicked scheming and visits Rama in the forest. He requests Rama to return and rule. But Rama, determined to carry out his father's orders to the letter, refuses to return before the period of exile. However, Bharata carries Rama's sandals, and keeps them on the throne, while he rules as Rama's regent.[38][41]
Aranya Kanda
Rama, Sita and Lakshmana journeyed southward along the banks of river Godavari, where they built cottages and lived off the land. At the Panchavati forest they are visited by a rakshasa woman, Surpanakha, the sister of Ravana. She attempts to seduce the brothers and, failing in this, attempts to kill Sita. Lakshmana stops her by cutting off her nose and ears. Hearing of this, her demon brother, Khara, organizes an attack against the princes. Rama annihilates Khara and his demons.[42]
When news of these events reaches Ravana, he resolves to destroy Rama by capturing Sita with the aid of the rakshasa Maricha. Maricha, assuming the form of a golden deer, captivates Sita's attention. Entranced by the beauty of the deer, Sita pleads with Rama to capture it. Lord Rama, aware that this is the play of the demons, is unable to dissuade Sita from her desire and chases the deer into the forest, leaving Sita under Lakshmana's guard. After some time Sita hears Rama calling out to her; afraid for his life she insists that Lakshmana rush to his aid. Lakshmana tries to assure her that Rama is invincible, and that it is best if he continues to follow Rama's orders to protect her. On the verge of hysterics Sita insists that it is not she but Rama who needs Lakshmana's help. He obeys her wish but stipulates that she is not to leave the cottage or entertain any strangers. He draws a chalk outline, the Lakshmana rekha around the cottage and casts a spell on it that prevents anyone from entering the boundary but allows people to exit. Finally with the coast clear, Ravana appears in the guise of an ascetic requesting Sita's hospitality. Unaware of the devious plan of her guest, Sita is tricked into leaving the rekha and then forcibly carried away by the evil Ravana.[42][43]
Jatayu, a vulture, tries to rescue Sita, but is mortally wounded. At Lanka Sita is kept under the heavy guard of rakshasis. Ravana demands Sita marry him, but Sita, eternally devoted to Rama, refuses.[41] Rama and Lakshmana learn about Sita's abduction from Jatayu, and immediately set out to save her.[44] During their search, they meet the demon Kabandha and the ascetic Shabari, who direct them towards Sugriva and Hanuman.[45][46]
Kishkindha Kanda
The Kishkindha Kanda is set in the monkey citadel Kishkindha. Rama and Lakshmana meet Hanuman, the greatest of monkey heroes and an adherent of Sugriva, the banished pretender to the throne of Kishkindha.[47] Rama befriends Sugriva and helps him by killing his elder brother Vali thus regaining the kingdom of Kiskindha, in exchange for helping Rama to recover Sita.[48] However Sugriva soon forgets his promise and spends his time in debauchery. The clever monkey Queen Tara, second wife of Sugriva (initially wife of Vali), calmly intervenes to prevent an enraged Lakshmana from destroying the monkey citadel. She then eloquently convinces Sugriva to honor his pledge. Sugriva then sends search parties to the four corners of the earth, only to return without success from north, east and west.[49] The southern search party under the leadership of Angad and Hanuman learns from a vulture named Sampati that Sita was taken to Lanka.[49][50]
Sundara Kanda
Main article: Sundara Kanda
The Sundara Kanda forms the heart of Valmiki's Ramayana[51] and consists of a detailed, vivid account of Hanuman's adventures.[47] After learning about Sita, Hanuman assumes a gargantuan form and makes a colossal leap across the ocean to Lanka. Here, Hanuman explores the demon's city and spies on Ravana. He locates Sita in Ashoka grove, who is wooed and threatened by Ravana and his rakshasis to marry Ravana. He reassures her, giving Rama's signet ring as a sign of good faith. He offers to carry Sita back to Rama, however she refuses, reluctant to allow herself to be touched by a male other than her husband. She says that Rama himself must come and avenge the insult of her abduction.[47]
Hanuman then wreaks havoc in Lanka by destroying trees and buildings, and killing Ravana's warriors. He allows himself to be captured and produced before Ravana. He gives a bold lecture to Ravana to release Sita. He is condemned and his tail is set on fire, but he escapes his bonds and, leaping from roof to roof, sets fire to Ravana's citadel and makes the giant leap back from the island. The joyous search party returns to Kishkindha with the news.[47][52]
Lanka Kanda
This book describes the battle between the army of Rama, constructed with the help of Sugriv, and Ravana. Having received Hanuman's report on Sita, Rama and Lakshmana proceed with their allies towards the shore of the southern sea. There they are joined by Ravana's renegade brother Vibhishana. The monkeys named "Nal" and "Neel" construct a floating bridge (known as Rama Setu) across the ocean, and the princes and their army cross over to Lanka. A lengthy battle ensues and Rama kills Ravana. Rama then installs Vibhishana on the throne of Lanka.[53]
On meeting Sita, Rama asks her to undergo an "agni pariksha" (test of fire) to prove her purity, as he wanted to get rid of the rumours surrounding Sita's purity. When Sita plunges into the sacrificial fire, Agni the lord of fire raises Sita, unharmed, to the throne, attesting to her purity.[54] The episode of agni pariksha varies in the versions of Ramayana by Valmiki and Tulsidas.[55] The above version is from Valmiki Ramayana. In Tulsidas's Ramacharitamanas Sita was under the protection of Agni so it was necessary to bring her out before reuniting with Rama. At the expiration of his term of exile, Rama returns to Ayodhya with Sita and Lakshmana, where the coronation is performed.[53]This is the beginning of Ram Rajya, which implies an ideal state with good morals.
Uttara Kanda
The Uttara Kanda is regarded to be a later addition to the original story by Valmiki.[12]and concerns the final years of Rama, Sita, and Rama's brothers. After being crowned king, many years passed pleasantly with Sita. However, despite the Agni Pariksha (fire ordeal) of Sita, rumours about her purity are spreading among the populace of Ayodhya.[56] Rama yields to public opinion and reluctantly banishes Sita to the forest, where sage Valmiki provides shelter in his ashrama (hermitage). Here she gives birth to twin boys, Lava and Kusha, who became pupils of Valmiki and are brought up in ignorance of their identity.
Valmiki composes the Ramayana and teaches Lava and Kusha to sing it. Later, Rama holds a ceremony during Ashwamedha yagna, which the sage Valmiki, with Lava and Kusha, attends. Lava and Kusha sing the Ramayana in the presence of Rama and his vast audience. When Lava and Kusha recite about Sita's exile, Rama becomes grievous, and Valmiki produces Sita. Sita calls upon the Earth, her mother, to receive her and as the ground opens, she vanishes into it.[56][57] Rama then learns that Lava and Kusha are his children. Later a messenger from the Gods appears and informs Rama that the mission of his incarnation was over. Rama returns to his celestial abode.[54]

The Ashwamedha sacrifice was not easy to perform. Only the most powerful of kings could undertake it. Rama was of course very powerful. So he formally got anointed to perform that sacrifice. The pavilion to perform the sacrifice was erected on the bank of the river Ganga. Rama worshipped the sacrificial horse. A medallion made of gold was tied on its forehead. On it was engraved the message: "This is the sacrificial horse of Sri Rama, son of Kausalya. He is the most powerful king on Earth. All those who agree should pay tribute and become his vassals. Otherwise they will tie up this horse, and fight with Rama." The horse was left to go as it liked. Rama appointed his brother Shatrughna t o go with a large army for its protection.

Lava The Hero

The Ashwamedha horse went past many countries. The kings of all those States paid tribute and became Rama's dependants. The horse was now returning to Ayodhya.

On the way it espied Valmiki's hermitage. Seeing the lush green grass there, the horse entered the hermitage. It was trampling upon the flowerbeds there and spoiling the garden. Kusha was not there. Lava happened to be playing there with other boys of the hermitage. He saw the horse. He went near it and saw the golden plaque on its forehead. When he read the inscription, he became very angry. He thought, "is Rama, the son of Kausalya, the' only hero? If I don't humble his pride, what is the use of my being the son of Sita?" With the towel, which was his upper garment, he tied that horse to a tree. He would not listen to the other boys who in fear asked him not to do so.

Meanwhile the soldiers accompanying the horse came there. They became angry that the horse had been tied up. "Who did this?" they asked the boys who were 'there. Trembling with fear, the boys said, "We didn't do that. It was he," pointing at Lava. The soldiers turned to Lava and shouted, "Untie it first." But Lava said, "Why should I untie the horse? I won't. And take care! If any of you tries to untie it, I'll cut off his hands." One of them, thinking that a young boy's words need only to be ignored, went to the horse to untie it. Lava promptly fixed an arrow in his bow and shot it the soldier's hand was cut.

The other soldiers were all very angry at what had happened to one of them. All of them surrounded the boy. But a swarm of flies does not shake a mountain. Lava stood firms and brought on a rain of arrows upon them. Many soldiers were injured and fell to the ground. They were stunned by his courage and heroism.

By then the commander of the army, Shatrughna himself, confronted Lava. He said, "Look, boy, who are you? And why have you tied the king's horse? Well, don't die of my hands. Leave the horse and run."

The words did not frighten Lava. He chanted the Mahesha incantation taught by Valmiki and aimed an arrow. Shatrughna was enraged at the boy's impudence. He also took his bow into his hands. But Lava shot an arrow that broke his bow. Shatrughna was utterly surprised at the boy's bravery. He was also angry. He took another bow and shot a terrible arrow Lava. Lava cut that arrow too. But only one half of the arrow fell down on the ground and the other sharp half-pierced Lava's chest. The boy fell down with a loud cry.

Shatrughna went near the boy prostrate on the ground. He greatly admired the boldness of the boy. He looked at him from near. Seeing the boy's handsome features, he felt drawn to him. He lifted up Lava and lay him down in his chariot. The soldiers freed the horse tied to the tree. All of them started towards Ayodhya, led by the horse.

Chased By Kusha

The young sons of the rishis were all very much afraid at what had happened to Lava. Weeping loudly they ran to the ashram and narrated to Sita all that had transpired. She started weeping tearfully, not knowing what would be her son's fate. And this had happened when Valmiki was not in the hermitage! She was in confusion as to what should be done now.

When Lava tied the sacrificial horse to a tree, Kusha was not in the ashram. He had gone out to the forest to bring the holy twigs for worship. When he returned, he saw that Sita was weeping. He asked her, "Mother, why are you weeping? What happened?"

Amidst loud sobs Sita told him all that had happened. Kusha became red with anger. He burst out, "Mother, don't be afraid. Even if it is Yama the God of Death who has taken away my brother, I will break his bones. I do no care for these so-called kings. Give me my shields, bow and arrows." Sita at once put on him his nail-coat and fetched his bow and arrows. Kusha prostrated before his mother. "May you succeed," Sita blessed and bade him farewell.

Kusha chased the army like a whirlwind. Nearing it, he shouted, "Stop! Stop!" The soldiers did not pay heed to his words and were marching on. Kusha became enraged. He shot an arrow. It flew with a hissing sound and pierced the back of a soldier who fell down. At once the whole army stopped and turned to Kusha. The soldiers got ready to fight with this new boy. But in no time Kusha rained his arrows on them. Many soldiers fell victims to his arrows and were aground. Shatrughna turned to him and said, "You are like the young of a deer and do you want to fight with tigers?" Kusha laughed and replied, "You are no tiger but a fox. When I was not there you have stolen my brother and are going away." With these words he shot four arrows which killed the four horses of Shatrughna's chariot. Another arrow brought down the charioteer.

Shatrughna jumped down from his chariot and with great wrath shouted, "You wicked boy, I'll kill you now." But an arrow shot by Kusha pierced Shatrughna's chest. Loudly uttering "Rama! Rama!" he fell down on the ground with a thud.

Seeing Shatrughna collapsing on the ground, all the army-men trembled with tear. They dropped their weapons and stood quietly. A messenger on horseback was sent to Rama. Kusha went near Shatrughna's chariot. Just then Lava also regained consciousness. As soon as he saw Kusha, he shouted, "0, brother!" and jumped from the chariot. They embraced each other. Lava said, "Brother, my bow was broken in the fight. I will now pray to the Sun-God as taught by our preceptor Valmiki and obtain a new bow." Kusha said, "Yes, please do so." Lava closed his eyes and chanted the Surya-mantra, or the hymn to the Sun. Then the Sun favoured him with a new bow. Both Lava and Kusha were overjoyed at this. The two again dragged the sacrificial horse and tied it to a tree.

Lakshmana And Bharat Humbled

The messenger from the warfield went straight to Rama, who was sitting in the pavilion being consecrated to perform the Ashwamedha sacrifice. The soldier told him all that had happened. Rama at first would not believe that Shatrughna had been defeated by a mere boy. But the soldier swore by it. Then Rama became worried as to who that boy could be. He sent his brother Lakshmana with a new army to help Shatrughna. Seeing him, the soldiers on the warfield had renewed courage. The whole army togetherattacked the boys again. But it was unavailing. The arrows of the boys felled many of them.

Looking at the bad shape of his army, Lakshmana himself entered the fray. Kusha left his brother to fight the army and himself faced Lakshmana. A fierce fight ensued between the two. Kusha shot the arrow of fire. But Lakshmana used the arrow of water and extinguished it. Kusha then sent a snake-arrow. Lakshmana destroyed it with an eagle-arrow.

Kusha was now very angry. He shot a very mighty arrow, the use of which Valmiki had taught him. The arrow went straight to Lakshmana and hit him. It hit him so powerfully that Lakshmana tottered and fell down on the ground. By then all the soldiers had also fled from the battlefield, unable to bear Lava's arrows.

The news that Lakshmana too was defeated and was aground reached Rama. Rama was upset. The people around whispered, 'This Rama unjustly sent away his virtuous wife Sita to the forest. This is the result of that sin.' Bharata told Rama: "Brother, don't be sad. I will go and punish those boys and bring back the brothers who have swooned." Hanumanta and Jambavanta also went to the battlefield along with Bharata.

When Hanumanta saw Lava and Kusha standing in the battlefield, he said to Bharata, "Look at those boys. They are so much resemble to Ramachandra." Bharata looked at them and felt it was indeed so. The boys bore a very strong resemblance to Rama. Bharata felt very affectionate towards them. He spoke to Kusha, "My dear boy, who are you? Who is this other boy? You two have killed our whole army. You have also brought down my brothers. Now at least, leave that horse. Why this ill will between you and us? Go to your mother and be happy."

Kusha laughed and said: 'Well,' we belong to the hermitage of Valmiki. I am Kusha and this is my younger brother Lava. I won't leave this horse. You have by yourself come for a fight. We have given a proper reply. We will make you also fall to the ground like your brothers. Only then will we go to our mother." Even as he spoke he shot arrows at Bharata.

In the fight that ensued between the two, Bharata collapsed on the ground unable to face the boy's arrows. The entire army ran away, not being able to withstand Lava's attack. Even Hanumanta and Jambavanta stood far away, where the arrows of the boys would not reach them. Some messengers ran to Rama from the battlefield and gave him the news. He was in turmoil. With no other way left, he himself had to go now to the battlefield.

Rama Also Defeated

Rama came to the battlefield and saw that everywhere soldiers were lying on the ground. And nearby lay his own brothers, unconscious. A little further was the horse, tied to a tree. Near the horse stood two boys, holding bows and arrows. What havoc had been wrought by such a small boys! Rama could not believe his eyes. He gently spoke to the children - "My dear boys, where from are you? Who is your father? And who is your mother? Who taught you archery? But why this wicked obstinacy to tie this horse? And how did you get this might to conquer such a huge army?"

To all these questions, Kusha replied merely: "Great king, you have come to free this horse and take it. If you have that power, well, conquer us and take the horse. Or else go away from here. Why such useless talk?"

But Rama said, "Alas! Should I fight with children like you? I do feel angry when - I look at my brothers lying unconscious. But I just don't have the mind to fix the arrow in my bow. I love very much to know about you. Do please tell me."

Then Kusha told him, "Look, we are the twin sons of Sitadevi. Sage Valmiki has taught us the Vedas and archery. Our study of the Ramayana, taught by him, has given us this strength."

Rama then understood that they were his own sons. At the mention of Sita's name, his agony knew no bounds.

Unable to bear that grief, he swooned in the chariot. Sugreeva who was by his side fanned him and after a while Rama recovered.

When Rama and Sugreeva were talking, Neela was stealthily untying the horse. Seeing that, Kusha aimed an arrow at him. Hit by the arrow, Neela fell to the ground with a thud. Hanumanta, Jambavanta and other heroes surrounded the boys. But they were all laid on the ground by the boy's arrows. This enraged Rama. He showered his arrows on the boys. They were not ordinary arrows. Rama's arrows nad killed great heroes like Ravana and Kumbhakarna. But in front of these boys, even they were ineffective. The arrows shot by Rama were all cut in the middle of their fight by the two boys. But the arrows shot by the youngsters lodged themselves in Rama's body. Rama's horses fell down and his charioteer too. The whole body of Rama was made gory with wounds. In extreme pain Rama lay down in his chariot.

The boys ran to him. They saw the handsome and dignified form of Rama. The string of pearls he was wearing looked so fine. They took it off his neck and tied it in a piece of cloth. They also took away all the precious ornaments worn by Lakshmana, Bharata Shatrughna.

Sita Is Worried

Kusha and Lava were ready to return to their mother. Just then Lava said, "Brother, one or two in this army may be awake. Let us drag them to our mother." Kusha agreed. Hearing this, Hanumanta told Jambavanta, "Look, these boys are going to take us to Sitadevi. That should cause no worry. She will certainly protect us." It happened just like that. Lava heard the two of them talking. He went to them, and tying them up, dragged them with him. With them and with the jewels, Lava and Kusha returned to the hermitage.

Sita was in great anxiety, as the children had not returned for such a long time. The boys who now came back went to her and gave her the bundle of ornaments. The boys made the two, whom they had dragged thither, prostrate at their mother's feet. Sita was stunned to see Hanumanta and Jambavanta! And the ornaments were all of Rama, Lakshmana Bharata and Shatrughna! Her heart seemed to stop. She told her children, "Alas! What have you done! Why do we need these ornaments of kings? These monkey heroes are great beings. Why did you shame them thus? Release them at once."

The two boys could not understand why their mother was pained. They took back Hanumanta and Jambavanta. Sita tearfully lamented, "What now? 0, that all this should have happened just when Valmiki is not here! What should I do now?"

And lo! It was Valmiki who was returning to the ashram. He went straight to Sita. He consoled her saying, "Mother, pray, don't weep. I know all. All that has happened is for the good. I shall set everything right."

Happy Ending

The sage Valmiki proceeded to the battlefield with Kusha and Lava. Consecrating with sacred spells the water in the vessel he carried, he sprinkled that water on all the persons lying on the ground. All of them at once got up as if from sleep. All of them prostrated at Valmiki's feet. The sage made Lava and Kusha prostrate before Rama. Then he said, "0 great king, you are very kind-hearted. You always protect those who come to you in need. Please do not be angry. These boys are your own sons. They are born to Sitadevi. They have now committed a big mistake, when I was not in the hermitage. You must pardon them."

Rama asked Lakshmana, "Brother, did you not leave Sita in the forest?"

"Yes, I did. But I don't know what happened later," replied Lakshmana.

Then Valmiki clarified: "While in the jungle, by God's grace she was seen by me. I took her to my hermitage. There she gave birth to these twin children. I taught the Vedas and archery to them."

Valmiki sent Lava and Kusha to the hermitage and had the Veena brought. As asked by their preceptor, the boys sang the Ramayana to the accompaniment of the Veena. Their singing was so sweet, as if the goddess of music was herself there. They recited the Ramayana from the beginning to the end. Rama, his brothers and the retinue listened to it with rapt attention, forgetting themselves. Rama's joy was boundless. He said to Lakshmana, "Brother, in voice and speech, shape and beauty, these boys resemble to Sita." Lakshmana smiled and replied, it Brother, they are surely your sons. Otherwise how could they get such strength as to defeat you? Please accept them."

Rama called the two boys to him. They went to him gladly. Rama drew them near and embraced them. All the people around were happy. Rama told Valmiki, "Sir, I will take these boys with me. I have now accepted Sita back. Please send her to Ayodhya."