Ramayan is one of the oldest histories of India.  In essence, it deals with the life and times of its tragic hero and heroine – Rama and Sita.


Born after divine intervention, much loved by the people, noble in mind body and spirit, the two ideal prince and princess marry with all the pomp and ceremony worthy of their ancient and illustrious lineage. 

Yet, it all starts to go wrong from that very special moment. 


First Parshurama intervenes and threatens to spoil the marriage party with his macho talk of destroying the Kshatriya kul.  Rama manages to salvage the situation by stringing the bow of Vishnu and sending Parshurama back to the Western shore.


When the happy couple get to Ayodhya, everything seems to be going well till Rama’s aged father decides to abdicate in his favour and make Rama the king.  Kaikeyi, the favourite queen of Dashrath, demands her son Bharat should be made the king and Rama should be banished to the forest for 14 years.


Rama, ever the gentle soul, leaves despite his father’s advise to imprison him and take the throne as many have done in the past !  Kaikeyi’s son is away at his maternal grand father’s kingdom and it takes several weeks to fetch him back.  Rama does not want to wait for his brother’s return and certainly does not want a throne tainted with family squabbles.  Sita and his step brother Lakshman decide to follow suite and all the festivities for the coronation are thrown in to disarray as the noble trio depart for the forest straight away.


King Dashrath dies, pining for his four sons, who are all out of the capital at that fateful time.  Kaikeyi’s son, Bharat, refuses to take the throne, insisting it belongs to the eldest and most able son of the family – Rama, and refuses to obey his parent’s command.  Along with another step-brother Shatrughna, he goes to the forest to fetch Rama and restore the throne to the rightful heir. 


Touched by his brotherly love, Rama, Sita and Lakshman commend him well and ask him to look after the kingdom as their father would have wanted till Rama returns from his exile.  Whilst in exile, Rama defeats many demons and makes the forest safe for the sages and ascetic who live there.


During the last year, the royal trio attract the attention of Ravan, greedy King of Lanka with a roving eye for beautiful maidens.  Allying with Rama’s old enemy Maarich, he deceives Sita with a vision of a golden deer.  While the royal brothers are out hunting the deer and answering cries of help, Ravan kidnaps the helpless Sita. 


With the help of Vanar king Sugriv and his trusty advisor Hanuman, Rama tracks down where Sita is held captive and takes an army of Vanar and Richha tribesmen to free Sita.   Ravan’s brother, Vibhishan defected to Rama’s side and the unlikely army of Vanars, Richha, humans and Rakshashas built a bridge / causeway across the gulf of Mannar.  In a battle that raged for nine days, Rama fights Ravan’s demonic army and triumphs against all odds. 


Sita though now free, has to face the humiliating “doubt” of Rama about her having stayed at the mercy of Ravan for nearly a year.  Humiliated by such chauvinistic attitude, from the man whom she admired so much, Sita prefers death before dishonour.  Divine intervention saves Sita and the happy trio returned to Ayodhya to be crowned with great pomp and ceremony.  Sadly, tongues wag and Sita’s unblemished character is once again called into question.  Though heavily pregnant with twins, Rama banishes Sita without a word of goodbye and orders her to be left near the forest hermitage of sage Valmiki. 


Rishi Valmiki takes care of Sita and her twins.  He raises them and teaches them all they need to know as princes of the Solar dynasty of Raghu, Ajmeedh, Bhagirath, Dashrath and Rama.  When Rama is about to announce himself as the undisputed emperor of India, during the grand ceremony of the “Ashwamedh yagna”, the twins come to recite the biography of the Emperor-in-waiting and remind him of the injustices of his own past.  Recognising the injury to Sita, Rama repents and is willing to take Sita back, provided she can furnish proof of her purity, once again, for the citizens of Ayodhya.  Unwilling to be doubted, this time, Sita abandons Rama and leaves her sons to him.




This tragic love story has been repeated a thousand times in as many ways by authors, poets, painters and dancers across time.  Within India itself, there are over 300 versions of the original story.  Outside India, across Java, Sumatra, Cambodia and beyond, Ramayan is interpreted and retold in a myriad ways.  But there is only one original – that of sage Valmiki.  All others are its interpretations. 


While sage Valmiki lived at the time of Rama and Sita, all others have retold the story from some distance – often many hundred or even thousands of years away from the original events.  Hence, only sage Valmiki’s account can be trusted as “authentic”. 




My analysis of Ramayan –

Why did sage Valmiki write the story of Rama and Sita

What does the Ramayan say about the society of the time.

How has Ramayan impacted lives of Indians through the centuries.

How does Ramayan continue to impact us today.

Sita, the gentle face of the goddess

Rama, why did he abandon Sita ?

Sita, why did she stay so silent though she was abandoned ?

Some of the reasons why we still adore Rama.

Rama Rajya, can it ever come back ?

Characters of Ramayan 


© Bhagwat    [email protected]


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