taking the centrestage …

Ramayana IV: Life in the Jungle

on October 18, 2012

And so, Rama, Lakshmana and Sita leave Ayodhya for the fourteen year long exile in the Jungle, or Vanvaasa…


image courtesy: http://www.columbia.edu/itc/me alac/pritchett/00routesdata/bce _299_200/ramayana/banishme nt/banishment.html









Narrator: Kaikeyi thought she would tell Bharat the good news about his becoming King after he returned with Shatrughna from her Dad’s place. But King Dashrath died on the sixth day after Rama, Lakshmana and Sita left for the jungle (He probably had a heart attack). The throne could not be left vacant, so, they had to send for Bharat and Shatrughna. Kaikeyi met them at the palace entrance.

Kaikeyi: Bharat! My son! I have some bad news, and some good news for you! The bad news is, your father has passed away.

(Bharat and Shatrughna fall back in shock)

Kaikeyi: But the good news is that YOU are now going to be King of Ayodhya!

Bharat: What do you mean, Mother? Brother Rama will be King, not I!

Narrator: And so, Kaikeyi tells them about her two promises and Rama’s exile. Shatrughna wants to kill Manthara, but Bharat stops him. He says the real culprit is Kaikeyi.

Bharat: You have brought shame on me by this act, Mother! I will never sit on my brother’s throne. I will bring him back if I have to beg him. And I vow that I will never speak to you again in my life!

Narrator: Bharat and Shatrughna leave for the forest to bring back Rama Lakshmana and Sita and make Rama the king of Ayodhya.



Narrator: Meanwhile, Rama, Lakshmana and Sita cross River Saryu and go towards Chitrakoot, the forest where many sages and holy men lived. Rama and Lakshmana make a Parnakuti – a cottage covered with green leaves – for them to live.

Rama:  Aaah! This is the life! Lots of greenery; fresh air; natural, organic food straight from the trees and bushes; learned sages for company; and my dear brother and wife with me! What more could I ask for?

Sita: I agree dear Rama! I would go anywhere with you. I might have missed my beauticians, but the sages’ wives have taught me great herbal beauty treatments, and what better source for them than the jungle?

Lakshmana: If everyone is satisfied, so am I, though …. But Hark! I hear someone calling out. (goes to the cottage door and looks out) It’s Bharat … and Shatrughna.
(angrily) I’ll show them!

Rama: Stop Lakshmana! Don’t blame Bharat. It wasn’t his fault. (Goes out to greet Bharat and Shatrughna)

Bharat: Brother! Forgive me! (falls at Rama’s feet) Come back to Ayodhya. Father is no more and you must be King.

Rama: Alas! Poor father! May he rest in peace. (tears in everyone’s eyes) But I cannot come back to Ayodhya before my fourteen years of vanvaas are up. Now say no more, but return to Ayodhya, be the King and rule wisely.

Bharat: I will never take your place, Brother! If you will not come, at least give me your Paadukas (wooden sandals). I will place them on the throne and govern the kingdom as your minister. The throne will await you till you come back from your exile.

Narrator:Bharat and Shatrughna go away, bearing Rama’s Paadukas. Rama, Lakshmana and Sita decide to move South to the

Dandak Forest as they feel Chitrakoot is too close to Ayodhya and someone or the other would always be popping in to disturb them. They make a cottage at Panchvati in the Dandak forest and live peacefully for almost thirteen years.

And then, one day, Shoorpanakha, the beautiful sister of the Asura King Ravana of the island kingdom of Lanka, passes by. She sees the trio and develops a crush on the handsome Rama.

Shoorpanakha: Hello there, you handsome hunk! I’m Princess Shoorpanakha and I’ve fallen in love with you. Will you marry me?

(Sita glares at Shoorpanakha)

Rama: You are a beautiful lady, Princess, but I am already married.

Shoorpanakha: What ill luck! But wait! Your brother is almost as handsome as you. (to Lakshmana) What say you, my scrumptious sage? Will you marry me?

Lakshmana: No. Go away!

Narrator: Now, this is where our story takes a twist. Shoorpanakha probably came on strongly, because she didn’t go away. Maybe she made a nuisance of herself with the brothers, but Lakshmana could have been a little patient. However, as you might have guessed by now, he was a little short tempered and impatient. Well, he lost his temper and cut off Shoorpanakha’s nose. Shoorpanakha fled, seething with humiliation and anger, to her brother, the Demon King Ravana. 


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