The most believed epic story of the birth of Rama and Sita along with many others and their journey is called as the ‘Ramayana’. Though the original is believed to be the work of sage Valmiki, there are also other versions written by many other saints and Veda pundits such as the Tulasidas, sant Eknath etc. Though each versions describe the story in different way but the main outline is the same. Its dated to the 4th and 5th B.C. Most of us know the story of Ramayana, there are many things in the story we might not know or might have missed it while listening to the main part of the story. Its not only a story but there are many things to learn from as well. Some of the things which we might not know about Ramayana are,
10. Ravana an excellent player of Veena
Well, there is no need of an introduction as to who is Ravana. But most of us know him to be the cruel man and an asura. He was the king of all demons. As a child he was feared by all the people because of his ten heads. Our beliefs are the evil and God are like enemies and fight each other, but Ravan was a firm believer of Lord Shiva. Its a known thing that Ravana was also a very good scholar and studied the Vedas, but the reason of having the instrument veena as a symbol in his flag is that he was also an excellent player of veena. Though much of consideration was not given to this art in him, he liked playing this instrument.
9. Lakshman also known as Gudakesh
It is believed that Lakshman did not sleep for the entire period of the exile of 14 years in order to protect his brother and sister- in-law Rama and Sita. Because of this he is called as Gudakesh. When the goddess of sleep appeared before him at the first night of the their exile to the forests and when Rama and Sita were asleep, Lakshman requested the goddess to give him no sleep for the entire 14 years, so that he can be awake to protect his beloved brother and Sita. The goddess was impressed by this and granted the boon on a condition that someone else have to bear his sleep. On Lakshman request the goddess visited his wife Urmila, sister of Sita. Urmila agreed to share her husband loss of sleep, and thus slept for entire 14 years. Hence the reason she is not much in the story, but a strong reason for helping Laksman to kill Ravana son Meghnadh in the war against to Ravana as Meghnadh could be killed only by a man who have not slept for 14 years.
8. Laksman Rekha episode not in Valmiki Ramayana
One of the most intriguing episode of the entire Ramayana story is the Lakshman Rekha, in which Lakshman draws a line circled their hut in the forest. When Sita requests to catch the deer, Rama follows it and tries to kill when it takes the form of a demon Maricha. At the time of dying the Rakshasa cries out for Lakshmana and Sita in the voice of Rama. So Sita urges Lakshmana to go and help his brother as he might be in some trouble. Though Lakshmana was reluctant at first to leave her alone in the forests, he agrees to go as he should obey Sita’s requests and help his brother if he is indeed in trouble. Hence to protect her he draws a line around the hut, through which no one can enter inside, if so anyone enters, they burn to ashes and requests Sita not to step out of it until his and Rama return. The unknown fact of this episode is that, the story is not a part of either Valmiki’s version of Ramayan or Ramacharitamanas. But in the Lanka Kanda version of Ramacharitmanas, its been mentioned by Mandodari wife of Ravana, when he boasts of his strength and his wife points out to him that he could not even cross the line drawn by Lakshmana.
7. Forest where Rama, Sita and Lakshmana stayed
We all know that the epic story of Ramayana is all about the Rama and Sita along with Lakshmana going to the forest for 14 years and defeating the king of demons Ravana and their return back to the kingdom. Much consideration was given that they spent many years in the forest but only a few know which was the forest or its name. Dandakaranya is believed to be the forest in which Rama, Sita and Lakshmana spent their exile years. It covers about 35,600 square miles of land which includes parts of Chattisgarh, Orissa, Maharashtra and Andhapradesh. The forest is believed to be a home of most fearful demons then, hence its called as Dankaranya meaning Dandakas- punished and aranya- forest.
6. Kumbhakarna slept because of Indra being jealous
Yet another interesting story of Ramayana is the mighty sleeper Kumbakarna. Kumbakarna, brother of Ravana is one of the most monstrous size and one who had a hunger as no one other could ever have. Though he was a rakshasas, he was believed to be a good character. Its known that Kumbakarna slept for six months continuously and gets up only for a day to eat again. But the truth to this is he was not like that always. While doing a yagna, Brahma appeared before him and was about to grant a boon. Indra was jealous of this and was afraid, hence he requested Goddess Saraswati to held his tongue and Kumbakarna asked for Nidrasana instead of Indrasana. Most of us do not know this part of the story and when Kumbakarna was against to fight Rama, and advised Ravana as its wrong. Though he fought, to obey his brother and was killed in the battle by Rama.
5. Ravana was killed by Rama only because of Vibhisana
The fight between Rama and Ravana ended by Rama killing Ravana, but it couldn’t have happened if not for Vibhisana support. When Ravana discussed about his war against Rama, all his ministers advised him to fight, while his younger brother Vibhisana advised Ravana to set Sita free and ask for forgiveness from Rama. But Vibhisana was sent away from the kingdom as Ravan was angry on him for taking sides of Rama. So Vibhisana helped Rama at the time of war, and Ravana made Rama believe with illusions that Sita is dead. When Rama fell fainted, it is Vibhisana who makes Rama understand the power of black magic of Ravana and how he can be killed with the power of his ten heads and his boon of immortal of nectar drink. If not for Vibhisana, the war could have ended differently. So Rama was able to defeat Ravana with the help of Vibhisana, hence Rama makes him the king of Lanka, after the death of Ravana.
4. NASA links the story of Ramayana and Adam’s Bridge
In the final stages of the story Rama and Lakshmana with the help of the army of all the monkeys (Gods in the form of monkeys) constructed a bridge in connection to Lanka where his beloved wife Sita was abducted and held. This story is believed to happen 1, 750, 000 years ago. NASA discovered one of the man-made ancient bridge in the Palk Strait connecting Sri Lanka and India, and according to researchers and archaeologists it dated back to the similar period as mentioned in the epic story of Ramayana. At present the pictures taken by the NASA’s space images, it is called as the Adam’s Bridge, which is made up of chains of shoals c.18 mi (30 km) long. Though most might think that the story can be a work of some olden times writer, this news from NASA did give a thought that there was a bridge constructed and it seems as real as the entire epic of Ramayana seems real too.
3. Lord Shiva’s bow in Sita Swayamvar is called as Pinaka
It is Lord Shiva’s bow used in the Swayamvar to wed Sita, all the prince from different places and dynasties are suppose to lift the bow and tie the string. The bow is a divine one and is bestowed with special powers. Hence all fail. Sita as an young child had lifted this bow and hence the king sets out to look for an equal partner to her. Rama is the only prince who lifts the bow and in the pursuit of tying its string breaks it. This is a very well-known story of the beginning of Ramayana and how Rama and Sita were wedded, but only few know the name of this bow. Every bow of these brothers have a name as they are with special powers blessed by God, and Lord Shiva’s bow is called as the Pinaka, when Lord is an Archer. Though it is also called as Shivadhanush.
2. Ravana knew he will be killed
According to the entire story, Ravana was pictured as a cruel, most monstrous demon, who disrespected all the holy people. When he heard about Rama’s attack because of kidnapping Sita, his brother advised him to surrender. Being as adamant to his powers Ravana denied the fact that he will be killed, instead he stood his ground to fight in order to get moksha/mukthi from Rama’s hands and reach back to Lord Vishnu. He said “if Rama and Lakshmana are two normal humans, than I will carry Sita and win over the humans, but if they are Gods, then I will die in their hands with arrows and will attain Moksha”.
1. Rama leaves Earth in Sarayu River
It is believed that Rama left the earth by taking the jala samadhi in the Sarayu river, when Sita is taken back by her mother earth Bhoodevi. When Sita could not bear yet another test to her innocence, while living in the forest, she requests the Goddess of earth to take her back. The Goddess parts the earth into two and Sita is taken back, while her son Kush tries to held his mother. Later Kush being disappointed with loosing his mother also follows her. Rama feels it unbearable to loose his beloved wife he ends his human life on the earth and reaches Lord Vishnu in Sarayu river.