Sri Rama Vanavasa – Story of Rama’s Exile

Sri Rama Vanavasa, the story of Rama’s exile, is also mentioned in Padma Purana.

When Goddess Parvati wanted to know about the Dasavatara of Lord Vishnu, Shiva Bhagwan explained her everything about Sri Mahavishnu’s ten incarnations..

Lord Mahadeva continued with the tale of Sri Rama and told Parvati — Dasharath wanted to appoint Sri Rama as his successor but Kaikeyi did not like this idea. She wanted Bharata to be made the king of Ayodhya and Sri Rama to be sent into exile for 14 years. Once, Kaikeyi had saved Dasharath’s life while he was fighting a battle against the demons. To show his gratitude, Dasharath had promised two boons to her. At that time, Kaikeyi had told Dasharath that she would make her demand at the appropriate time.

This way, Dasharath was compelled by Kaikeyi to accept the two demands. As a result, Sri Rama was sent into exile. Bharata refused to become the king of Ayodhya and vowed to wait till Sri Rama returned. Dasharath could not bear the sorrow of Rama’s separation and died in his sorrow. Bharata tried his best to convince Sri Rama to change his mind and accept the throne, but Sri Rama did not listen to his request. Bharata then brought Sri Rama’s wooden-sandal and kept it on the throne. He vowed to spend rest of his life in austerities till Sri Rama returned.

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While Sri Rama was still in exile, he went to the hermitage of Sage Atri and received his blessings. Atri’s wife- Anasuya preached Sita on the virtues of chastity. Sri Rama also visited hermitages of some other prominent sages like Sharbhanga, Suteeksha, Agastya etc. Once, while Sri Rama was living in Panchavati, Shurpanakha arrived there. Shurpanakha was Ravana’s sister and wanted to marry Sri Rama, But Lakshman severed her nose and ears. She went to a mighty demon named Khar and narrated her woeful tale. Khar attacked Rama with a huge army, which comprised of brave warriors like Trishira Dushan etc. Rama was Victorious in this battle and Khar, Trishira and Dushan were killed.

Shurpanakha went to Ravana and informed him about the misdeeds of Rama. Ravana was infuriated and wanted to take revenge. He abducted Sita with the help of Marich.

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When Jatayu saw Ravana carrying Sita to Lanka, he fought with valor but was injured in the ensuing battle. Sri Rama went in search of Sita and met Jatayu, who was injured and who informed Rama that Sita had been abducted by the demon king Ravana. Sri Rama met Hanuman at the Rishyamook mountain. Later on he befriended Sugriva on the advice of Hanuman. Sugriva had enemity with his brother-Bali. Sri Rama killed Bali and made Sugriva the king.

Sri Rama requested Hanuman to find out the whereabouts of Sita. Hanuman went to Lanka and found Sita at Ashoka Vatika. He destroyed the garden and killed many demons including Ravana’s son–Akshay Kumar. Ultimately, he was captured by Meghnath and taken to Ravana’s court. Ravana ordered Hanuman’s tail to be ignited. Hanuman then burnt the city of Lanka and returned to Sri Rama. When Sri Rama came to know about the exact location of Sita, he decided to attack Lanka with a huge army, which comprised of monkeys. The army camped at the sea-shore where Vibhishan came to meet him.

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A bridge was built across the ocean and the army reached Lanka. A fierce battle took place in which many demons were killed. At last, Ravana came forward to fight against Sri Rama but was killed. Sri Rama appointed Vibhishan as the king of Lanka and blessed him. Vibhishan presented his pushpak Vimana to Sri Rama. All of them boarded the Pushpak Vimana and flew towards Ayodhya. On the way Sri Rama met Bharata who was still awaiting his arrival at Nandigram. Sri Rama was very pleased to meet Bharata. Ultimately all of them returned to Ayodhya.

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