Origin: Indian Hindu
Theme: The hero can face all adversity and win, and save his love and reunite his family.
Many, many, many years ago there was a king in India who had no children. He had three wives but no sons or daughters. He asked a holy man to help him have children. The holy man did a ceremony, and a spirit appeared, handing the king a drink. By drinking the heavenly fluid the king would have sons. One son would be able to defeat the great ten-necked demon, Ravana, who plagued the Earth.
A year later the king’s wives gave birth to four sons; one wife having twins. The sons names were Rama, Bharata, Lakshmana and Shatrughna. Rama and Lakshmana became close friends, as did Bharata and Shartrughna. Rama was the first-born.
The sons grew into fine men with good character and with great love for each other, and for their father and mothers. A holy man came to the king and asked him if Rama could be sent to help him. There were demons in the forest who were causing him a great deal of trouble. The king didn’t think that Rama was ready, but the Holy man insisted and performed spells for Rama so that he would have great strength. Rama took Lakshmana, his favorite brother, and went into
the woods. A great demoness rose up to kill them, but Rama killed her with his mighty bow. Then Rama threw another demon in the ocean.
Rama and Lakshmana were near a kingdom where the king had a great bow. They went to visit the king to find out if they could have the bow. The king asked Rama if he could bend it to string it, knowing that no one had been able to do this before. Rama easily bent the bow. The king was impressed and gave him the bow as well as his daughter, Sita, for a wife.
Many years passed and Rama’s father decided it was time to pass his on kingdom. He consulted with his advisors and decided that Rama would be king. Rama was told to prepare for the ceremony. But a slave of one of the king’s wives had overheard these plans. The slave went to her mistress who was Bharata’s mother. She told her that if Rama were king, then Bharata would have no power, and that the mother would then be nothing. Bharata’s mother ignored her and said that it was right for Rama to be king. But the slave would not give up. Finally Bharata’s mother agreed to influence the king against Rama. She dressed in rags and began grieving. The king came and was overcome with sadness that his wife was in such distress.
He said, “Tell me what I can do, I will do anything.”
She said he was to send Rama into the wilderness for fourteen years and make Bharata the king. At first the king resisted, but after awhile he agreed to follow her wishes.
Bharata was angry at his mother because he loved Rama. But Rama insisted that everyone should follow his father’s command. Sita and Lakshmana begged to go with Rama into the wilderness. The three of them left to begin their journey. Soon after Rama, Sita, and Lakshmana left, the king died of a broken heart. Bharata followed his brother in the wilderness and implored him to become king, but Rama said they must keep their father’s word.
Rama, Sita, and Lakshmana journeyed in the wilderness for many days. They had many helpers. A great vulture told them where to go to be safe and have enough to eat. Often, Rama was asked to help people who were being tortured by demons. He killed many demons, and even killed a giant. Rama received another mighty bow as a present for this great feat.
Once when Rama killed a demon, a man who had been trapped inside the demon was released. When released the man gave Rama information about the next place to travel.
There came a time, when Rama, Sita, and Lakshmana were staying at a beautiful place. A great demoness came out of the forest and wanted to marry Rama. She told Rama that she would eat Sita, and then Rama and she would be free to marry. Lakshmana had a hot temper and when Rama told him the story, Lakshmana went out and cut off the demoness’ ears and nose. She was very angry and sent her two demon brothers and 14,000 men to kill Rama and Lakshmana. Rama killed them all using all of his bows.
The demoness was still angry so she traveled across the sea to an island where her ten-necked brother, Ravana, lived. She hoped that he would take revenge against Rama. The demoness told Ravana about Sita’s beauty. She also told him that he would be able to rule the earth if he had Sita as his bride. Ravana had his chariot prepared, and he immediately flew across the sea to find Sita.
On his way he met a demon who could change into any form at will. Ravana asked him to change into a golden deer to entice Sita. But the demon argued with Ravana, saying that Rama was of noble character. However, the demon finally turned into a deer and came near Sita. Sita loved the deer, and she pleaded with Rama to go after the deer for her. Rama suspected a trick, but Sita kept asking him over and over. Rama finally went after the deer.
Rama chased the deer and killed him with his bow. He then realized it was a demon in disguise. When the demon died he called out to Sita in a voice that sounded exactly like Rama’s voice. Hearing Rama call, Sita sent Lakshmana to help him. When Lakshmana was gone, Ravana came to see Sita dressed as a beggar. Ravana grabbed Sita and swept her away to his island.
When Rama and Lakshmana returned they realized that Sita was gone. Rama was beside himself with grief. But Lakshmana said that it was a time for action. They started traveling to see if they could find clues to Sita’s disappearance. They encountered a man they had helped who told them to go to the kingdom of the monkeys to find help for Sita. The king there asked Rama’s help in defeating the king’s brother, promising he would help Rama find Sita if he would help. Rama did this, but the king was so happy he forgot he promised to help Rama.
Lakshmana became very angry and reminded the king of his promise. Hanuman was the monkey king’s most trusted warrior. The king sent all of his soldiers under Hanuman’s direction to find Sita. He gave them a month to find her. They looked and looked but could not find her. The month was almost over and the great monkey warrior, Hanuman, was going to kill himself because he had failed. But a vulture appeared and said that Ravana had taken Sita to his island 100 leagues across the sea.
Hanuman was the son of the wind god, and he jumped across the sea. He found Sita, but she would not let him bring her back, because only Rama could touch her.
Hanuman returned to get Rama, and he set out to free Sita. First he had to figure out how to get a huge army of warriors across the sea. He prayed to the sea god for three days. Finally he sent his arrow into the sea and frightened the sea god. The sea god calmed the sea and a bridge was built. Rama, Lakshmana, Hanuman and great hordes of monkeys crossed the sea. They went to Ravana’s castle. Ravana sent his son, his brother and other demons out to fight Rama and his warriors. The fighting was fierce. At one point Lakshmana was wounded and lay dying. Hanuman flew to the mountains and brought back the top of a mountain that had healing herbs. Lakshmana was restored to life. Finally, Ravana came out to battle Rama. It was a terrible battle with blows and counter blows. A great sage appeared to Rama and said to continuously pray to the sun, for it destroys all fears and overcomes all evil. Rama shot an arrow with all his might, and Ravana fell, slain.
Sita was rescued and Rama returned home. Bharata gladly gave him the throne of the kingdom. Rama ruled his kingdom with Sita by his side, and his land was free from evil.
To the reader or listener of the story of Rama, prosperity will come.