The Summary Of Ramayana: 1000 Words
Ram was the 7th of the ten incarnations of Vishnu who incarnated to fight demons and evils of Treta Yuga including Ravana. The legend of Ram was written by Sage Valmiki in Ramayana and by Tulsidas in Ramcharitmanasa with notable differences. Here’s a Summary of Ramayana…
Dashrath, a ruler from the lineage of Bhagirathi (the king/sage who prayed to bring down Ganges from heaven to earth) was the righteous king of Ayodhya. He had three wives who begot him four children through a divine scheme. Kaushalya the eldest queen begot Ram, Kaikeyi begot Bharat and the youngest queen Sumitra gave birth to Lakshman and Shatrughan.
The four princes were educated in Vedas and Upanishads and trained in archery, warfare and combat arts by Sage Vashishtha, the royal priest of Surya vansh (Solar Dynasty). After their training, sage Vishwamitra took Ram and Lakshman to his hermitage to get rid of demons like Khara, Dushan, Taadka and Mareecha that were harassing sages and corrupting their daily prayers and chanting. The juvenile brothers bought peace by using their newly acquired warfare skills and virtue. All demons were either killed or forced to flee.
Then following Vishwamitra’s advice, Ram and Lakshman visited Mithila Nagari. Janak, the king of Mithila had organised the Swayamvara of his beautiful daughter Sita. Various eligible kings and princes graced the occasion, hoping to get Sita as a bride. But it was Ram who passed the test (breaking the bow of Shiva) and was ceremonially married to Sita. In the same occasion, Bharat was married to Mandavi, Lakshman to Urmila and Shatrughan to Shrutikirti. These brides were daughters of Janak’s brothers. After spending some time in Mithila, king Dashrath returned to Ayodhya with his sons and their wives. On their way, they met Parshurama, a warrior sage. He was enraged at Ram for breaking Lord Shiva’s bow. Ram comforted him by promising that his incarnation in Dvapar Yug (Lord Krishna) will tie the bow-string back.
On reaching Ayodhya, Dashrath decided to coronate Ram as king of his empire. His second queen Kaikeyi disturbed the ceremony by reminding him of two boons he promised her. She asked for a) his son Bharat (who was away at this time) be the king of Ayodhya and b) Ram be sent to an exile for 14 years. Honouring his father’s word, Ram voluntarily gave up the throne and left for forest. His wife Sita and brother Lakshman left with him too.
While the three were staying in a forest down south of India, a demoness Shoorpnakha fell for Ram and tried to seduce him. When he told her of his marriage, she tried her charms on Lakshman who hacked off her nose in an argument. Enraged, she narrated her insult and Sita’s beauty to her brother Ravana, the demon king of Lanka (present day Sri Lanka). Cajoled, Ravana kidnapped Sita with the help of Maricha, his uncle. After Ram ran to capture Maricha (who metamorphosed into a golden deer) for Sita, Ravana appeared – guised as a sage – and flew Sita to Lanka on his plane Pushpak.
After a vulture called Jatayu told him that he saw Ravana fleeing with a woman towards South, a distraught Ram (with Lakshman) went through the forest in that direction. On his way he met Hanuman the lieutenant of Monkey Sugriva of Kishkindha. On befriending Sugriva, Ram learnt how he was humiliated by his elder brother Bali/Vali and promises to kill Bali for him. After killing Bali, Ram appoints Sugriva as king of Kishkindha and Vali’s son Angad becomes the prince and heir.
Now Ram and Lakshman proceed with Sita’s search with help of Sugriva’s army. Hanuman crosses the ocean and discovers Sita’s location. She’s held captive in Ravana’s Ashok vaatika (palatial lawns) in Lanka. At this point Hanuman destroys the lawns, kills one of Ravana’s sons (Aksha) and sets the palace on fire.
Hanuman once again crossed the sea and narrated Sita’s presence and his encounter with Ravana to Ram. With the help of Nal and Neel, Ram then constructed a floating bridge (Ram Setu) from modern day Kanyakumari to Lanka and the army crosses it to confront Ravana.
After another failed attempt of truce, the battle begins. In a bloody battle that went on for eight days, Ram slayed Ravana and his gigantic brother Kumbhakarna. Lakshman slays Ravana’s mighty Son Meghanad. Ram then appoints Ravana’s righteous brother Vibhishan as king of Lanka.
On receiving Sita, Ram surprisingly asks her to appear in a public court. Since she has been the property of another man, Ram can’t take her back and gives her the option to marry one of his brothers or even Vibhishan. An appalled Sita then reveals her divinity to Ram and others present there. She creates a pyre to self-immolate but escapes unscathed, thus proving her purity to the husband and King Ram. The version of Ram asking Sita to undergo Agnipariksha version is only in modern accounts and not in Valmiki’s Ramayana.
Then Ram returned to Ayodhya with Laksham, Sita, Hanuman, Sugriva and chief warriors of his army on Ravana’s Pushpak Viman. On his return, Bharat willingly gave up the throne (he was the interim caretaker of state affairs all this while) and Ram was coronated as the King. The rumours of Sita’s infidelity resurfaced in Ayodhya, Ram the king had to leave Sita, then pregnant. She took refuge in the hermitage of Rishi Valmiki (the author of Ramayana) and gave birth to two sons – Lava and Kusha. Twelve years later when Ram announced Ashwamedha Yagya, Lava and Kusha sing verses of Ramayana (taught by Valmiki) to Ram. On the episode of Sita’s exile, Ram feels grievous and embarrassed. Then Valmiki produces Sita, revealing Lava and Kusha’s identity to everyone. Unable to bear this confrontation, Sita seeks refuge from mother earth and enters a crevice when earth parts. Ram returns with his sons to Ayodhya and after coronating his son Kusha as king, he leaves his earthly form.
(1000 words end here)
Note: In the want of brevity and tight-knit, this summary of Ramayana is skeletal in nature, not touching various incidences, characters and acts of divine, chronicled in the multi-layer Ramayana.