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Queen Kaikey's wishes

For twelve years Ram and his brothers helped their father to rule Ayodhya.

One day, King Dashratha decided that he was too old and too tired to be King any longer. It was time that Ram took over.

Everyone was pleased that Ram was to be their new ruler. All except … Manthara, the Queen Kaikeyi’s handmaiden.  She wanted Bharat , Ram’s brother to be the new ruler.

Bharat was away visiting far off kingdoms.

Manthara was wise and cunning. She remembered that King Dashratha has once promised the Queen two wishes … the Queen had never made them. Now she suggested two wishes to the Queen.

"Make Bharat the ruler and send Ram away from Ayodhya for fourteen years."

Those two wishes made the King so sad. The King didn’t want to grant the wishes, but he had made a promise… and promises should be kept.

So Ram was sent away from Ayodhya and his younger brother Bharat was to become ruler.

Ram and Sita left Ayodhya … Laxman, good old Laxman decided to go with them. Where they would go… no one knew.

Leaving Ayodhya

Who will be King?

King Dashratha became sad and weary. He missed Ram and Sita, and he missed Laxman too. Everyone was so sad when the King died.

Hearing that his father had died Bharat came rushing back to Ayodhya . No one had told him that he was to be King instead of Ram. When Bharat returned and was so angry with everyone.

He did not want to be King, he wanted Ram to be King. Bharat set off to look for Ram… to bring him home … to make him King.

After searching for many weeks he found him. Bharat begged Ram to return as King, but Ram refused. His father had sent him away for 14 years and for 14 years he would do as his father had told him.

Bharat did not wish to be King

Bharat and Ram agreed that Bharat should go back to Ayodhya and be King for 14 years.

But Ram would be the true King. His sandals would be put on the royal throne to remind everyone.

And just one other thing … Bharat must not live in the palace … but in a mud hut , like a hermit.

In the forest

Rama, Sita and Laxman lived happily together in the forest. They slept under the stars on beds of leaves and grass and lived on fruits and berries.

But they became uneasy. There always seemed to be someone following them, someone watching them … just like a shadow… the shadows of demons.

They were happy in the forest

One day, they heard a scream and they came face to face with a hideous demon.

She had wild bloodshot eyes and tangled hair.  Her voice, when she spoke, was like a growl. She was called Surpanakha, and was the sister of Ravan, the powerful ruler of Lanka and the king of the demons.

She had never seen such handsome young men like Ram and Laxman before and she fell in love with them, there and then.

Surpanakha looked at Sita and became jealous. She rushed at Sita with bared fangs and outstretched claws.

Laxman rushed to Sita’s side and cut off the demon’s nose and ears. Screaming in agony, the demon rushed off into the depths of the forest.

Enter Ravan, the ten headed, twenty armed King of Lanka

Surpanakha went straight to her brother, Ravan, the mighty demon king.

Ravan was angry that Laxman had hurt Surpanaka and promised his sister that he would not rest till Ram and Laxman had been punished.  He swore that they would suffer and die a horrible death.

Ravan thought for a long time about what he should do.

"I’ll Capture Sita … bring Sita to Lanka," he thought.

Ram would follow to rescue his wife. Ravan would wait … surprise Ram and … KILL him. Ravan was pleased with this plan and decided to kidnap Sita himself.

Pushpak the chariot

He took his flying chariot, Pushpak and travelled with amazing speed to the house of his friend, Maricha.

Maricha agreed to go with Ravan and took the shape of a beautiful deer. Ravan disguised himself as a poor hermit. They would surprise Sita.

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