|RAMA - THE KING
Lord Rama is the seventh incarnation
of Vishnu. Born during the second age of the world called
TRETA YUGA, he is the immortal hero of the great religious
epic of India, the RAMAYANA. This epic seems to have
been written sometime between the fifth and the first century
B.C. though broad- lines of Rama's noble life were known to
the residents of this land much earlier.
Rama occupies a very considerable place in the religious life
of India and in the religious history of the world. He is
the embodiment of righteousness and is believed to be the
incarnation of the solar aspect of Vishnu. The
most ancient and most striking of the tales of Rama Chandra
is the RAMAYANA, written by sage VALMIKI, who is also said
to be the father of epic style of poetry.
Innumerable temples are scattered allover India having the
images of Rama, his younger brother Lakshmana and his consort,
Sita. In all images Rama is invariable depicted to have
two arms and not four, which emphasizes the character of Rama
as a human being and the way god Vishnu preferred to adopt
this form just to re-establish the golden age of justice and
happiness. The expression of Rama Rajya even today
means the reign in which peace and prosperity prevails.
Rama's story follows this way:
At the end of the Treta Yug or the second
age of the world the sages, the holy men and even gods found
themselves in great terror and alarm at the misdeeds of Ravana,
the demoniac king of Lanka, and the horde of his followers.
|RAVANA - THE TEN-HEADED ASURA
KING OF LANKA
Ravana had pleased Brahma by austere penances and Brahma
had given him the boon of invulnerability from the wrath of
any god or goddess.
Thus being fortified Ravana started his reign of terror and
misused his power to terrorize people in order to subdue them.
All the gods approached Brahma to relieve them of the looming
danger and deliver the sages of their sufferings, which were
the result of the boon bestowed by Brahma and misused by Ravana.
Brahma disclosed to them that Ravana, in
his pride, had thought that only gods could overpower him
therefore he did not care to include man in the category of
those who could subdue him and only a being in man' s shape
could kill him.
The gods now reached Vishnu to whom they prayed for deliverance. Vishnu promised to descend on the
earth in the shape of a man by being born as a son to Dasharatha,
a king of the Solar Race, reigning at Ayodhya.
When King Dasharatha was performing a religious sacrifice, the
fire-god emerged before him out of the sacred fire and gave
him a pot of nectar for his three wives to drink. King Dasharatha
gave half of this nectar to his senior most wife, Kaushalya,
who brought forth Rama with one half of the divine essence;
a quarter to Kaikeyi, the second wife, whose son Bharata was
endowed with a quarter of divine essence; and the fourth part
to Sumitra, the junior most wife, who brought forth two sons,
Lakshmana and Shatrughana, each having one-eighth part of divinity.
All four brothers were deeply attached to each other but Lakshmana
was more especially devoted to Rama and Shatrughana to Bharata.
Lord Vishnu had thus kept his word to gods and was born as Prince
Rama in the household of King Dasharatha.
|BABY RAMA WITH QUEEN KAUSALYA