THE RAMAYANA is celebrated at Dussehrea, The Festival of Victory, during the waxing of moon in late September.
The great Hindi Ramayana is an epic legend about great dharma. A story of the God Vishnu, Protector of the worlds, and Goddess Lakshmi who come to save the worlds from Ravana, the ten-headed and twenty-armed daemon. Rama (Vishnu) is a son of duty and loyalty to his father's words, regardless of the consequences, his dharma. Lakshmi the loyal wife of Vishnu raped by Ravana in another life, cursed Ravana, and now Lakshmi returns as Sita for her revenge. Daemon Ravana, the ten-headed twenty-armed daemon, as Emperor of Lanka should protect the three worlds only conquers the three worlds and takes women as his possessions.
Ramayana was orally told for centuries; the classic version written 2500 years ago by poet Valmiki, actually, having 25,000 verses and takes 9 hours to recite. I have shortened, modified, and re-image this epic myth to tell in a over-over-simplified version from Sita's point of view.
For a moment the worlds are at peace.
The Heavenly Poet, Narada, floats on his cloud, singing.
God Brahma floats meditating with his eyes open, he connects to Vishnu by a lotus flower.
God Vishnu dreams resting on the Serpent Snake, Lakshmi, his loving wife rubbing Vishnu's feet. Soon Vishnu visits as an avatar to the human Earth to fight evil.
To the left is God Shiva, the Destroyer, who stands on his mountain top meditating.
To the right is the heaven of God Indra from which flows the heavenly Ganges River.
Beneath the Gods are earth and oceans and underworlds.
Evil Daemon Ravana, a human, lives in the South on the Island of Lanka, rich Emperor of the Rakshasas.
God Brahma grants Ravana the power to withstand any attacks from Gods, Demons, and nature; men and animals are only worms to eat. His heads and arms can grow back and only killed through his heart.
The ten-headed, twenty-armed Daemon Ravana, threatens men, gods, and other daemons. He attacks, Indra the thousand-eyed God of Heaven. Indra races to God Brahma gave Boons to Ravana.
To conquer and rid the worlds of Daemon Ravana, God Vishnu comes to earth in the form of a man, Rama, whose father is a Koshala King called Dasaratha, who lives in Ayodhya.
In their youth, Rama and Lakshman help a Sage from a nearby forest kill two Rakshasas demons annoying his rituals. As a reward, they are taught the fine art of warriors and given madras to call up divine weapons.
Rama wins the hand of Sita, daughter of the Earth Mother and King Janata of Videha, by breaking a huge bow given by Shiva. None of the other suitors could lift the lid of the chest, let alone lift the bow and pull the string. Sita agrees to marry Rama. Sita sister marries Rama's brother Lakshman.
Rama's secession to the throne of Ayodhya is hindered by his stepmother, his father's second wife, who wants her son Bharata as King and Rama to be banished for fourteen years. With his wife, Sita, and his half-brother, Lakshmana, Rama retires to the forest.
Their father, King Dasaratha, dies of a broken heart. Bharata finds Rama and begs him to come home and be King. Rama gives his sandals to Bharata and tells him to forgive his mother. Rama will follow his dad's words. They will be back. Sita, Lakshmana, and Rama go farther south.
A sister of Ravana wanting to marry Rama or Lakshman attacks Sita. Her nose and ears are cut off by Lakshmana. She screams to her brother, Ravana. She tells him of Sita's beauty because Ravana collects women.
Arriving in the forest, Ravana charms Sita's desire for a golden deer. When Rama and Lakshmana go after the deer, Ravana appears as a beggar. Sita crosses the magic circle with a bowl of rice, and Ravana captures her.
Jataya, an old vulture, comes to her rescue only to have his wings cut off and eyes poked. Sita drops her jewels to two monkeys standing on a hill as she is taken to Lanka.
Rama and Lakshman search for Sita. Rama forms an alliance with Monkey Sugriva and Hanuman when shown Sita's jewels. Rama helps Sugriva become King of the Monkeys and Sugriva sends monkey and bear armies to find Sita.
Hanuman goes South, he jumps across the Ocean to Lanka, and as a cat finds Sita in tree garden. He gives her Rama's bracelet. Sita gives her pearls to take to Rama. Hanuman plays havoc in the city; he is caught and has his tail set afire, burning down Lanka. He jumps from the island back to the land.
The bears, monkeys, lions, and all the animals build a bridge to Lanka.
On Lanka, Rama, Lakshman, Hanuman, Sugriva, bears, monkeys, and lions fight the Rakshasas demons. Ravana's general; his son, Indrajit; then his brother, Kumbhakarna; and finally Ravana are slain.
Sita proves her innocent by walking into Angi's fire; she is not burnt. Rama, Lakshman, and Sita return to Ayodhya. Rama becomes King and Sita his Queen. Gossip starts she was spoiled by Ravana.
Sita is sent to a hermitage, with Valmiki, they write the RAMAYANA.
The twins of Rama and Sita learn the epic poem and tell to Rama, who calls for Sita, who appears. Then Sita asks her Mother Earth to take her home. Rama remains broken-hearted for love of his faithful Sita. In his old age, Rama walks into the river and returns home as Vishnu to Lakshmi his loyal wife. The twins become the Kings of Koshala and spread the story of their mother and father.
From many sources – will list separately in the last part! The Ramayana is a long epic myth, nine hours to recite and seventy-five verses, a poem, written two thousand five hundred years ago and told long before that.
My version of the Ramayana, written in wattpad. Told verbally from Sita's point of view for my master storytelling class (2002) and the Alameda Swap (2011). Good to revisit wonderful ageless stories, always something new.
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ASIAN STORIESHistorical Fiction
Daily in April will be posted a written story: 'How Dragons Shaped China'; the Hindu Ramayana from SITA's point of view; and from Korea, 'Taming of Tiger'; from my days of telling verbal stories at the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco. These tradi...