51 Lesser Known Facts About Ramayana

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Ramayana, the Epic tale of Sri Ram has always filled people with awe andinspirations. It is said that Ramanad Sagar’s Ramayan used to bring the whole of India to a standstill. According to an questionable account trains used to be delayed as drivers sat watching the telecast at stations. Anyways, here are 51 Lesser Known Facts About Ramayana

1-10

sita

1. Sita wasn’t born to king Janaka. She was the daughter of the Goddess of earth, Bhumi. She was found by king Janaka in a box while ploughing the earth as a part of a yagna, who then adopted her as his daughter considering her to be a boon from the goddess of the earth.

2. Towards the end, Sita summoned Bhoomi Devi to take her back after completing the Agni Pariksha.

3. Sita was an incarnation of goddess Laxmi.

4. Once Hanuman saw Sita applying sindhoor (Vermillion to non-indians) to her hair. He asked her what purpose it served to which Sita replied that it was for the well being and long life of Lord Rama. Then Hanuman smeared his entire body with sindhoor for the long life of Lord Rama.

5. The “Shiva dhanush” was easily moved by Sita during her childhood. King Janak observed this and this incident set the condition of “Sita Swayamvar” in the Ramayana.

6. Urmila (sister of Sita) Laxmana’s wife slept both his and her shares of sleep so that Laxmana remained awake protecting Rama and Sita. She slept for the whole period of exile (14 years) and only woke up when Laxmana returned to Ayodhya. Laxmana is, hence, also called “Gudakeshmeaning one who has “defeated sleep”.

7. Lava and Kusha sons of Rama defeated all the three Brothers of Ram (Laxman, Bharat, Shatrughna) in a battle that was waged for retrieving the horse which was being used by Rama while performing Ashvamedha Yagna.

8. Valmiki the author of Ramayana was a Hunter before he turned a sage. He was also the Guru of Lava and Khusha and trained them in every form of art and battle.

9. Laxman and Shatrughana were twins.

10. Though only three wives of Dasharatha are known, he had more than 300 wives. Kaikeyi was his last wife.


11-20

Ravan

11. Ravana and his brother Kumbhakarna are considered to be the incarnations of Jaya and Vijaya the gatekeepers of Lord Vishnu’s world. They were cursed by Brahmas sons Four Kumaras to be born in earth after they were refused entry into Lord Vishnu’s world. Jaya and Vijaya then pleaded Lord Vishnu to show them solution by which they could avoid the dire consequence of their insolence. Lord Vishnu gave them two options. They could either be born as his devotees for 7 life cycles or as his enemies for 3 life cycles. They chose the latter since they preferred not to be separated from Lord Vishnu for a Long period of time. They were born as Hiranyaksha & Hiranyakashapa in Satya Yuga, Ravana and Kumbhakarna in Tretha Yuga, Dantavakra and Shishupala in Dwapara Yuga.

12. Kuber, The god of Wealth was Ravana’s half-brother. Both had the same father.

13. Kumbhakarna was considered pious, intelligent and brave, so much that Indra was jealous of him. Along with his brothers, Ravana and Vibhishana, he performed a major yajnaand penance for Lord Brahma. When the time came for asking a boon (blessing) from Brahma, his tongue was tied by goddess Saraswati (acting on Indra’s request). So instead of asking “Indraasana” (seat of Indra), he asked for “Nidraasana” (bed for sleeping).

14. Ravana also asked for absolute invulnerability from and supremacy over gods, heavenly spirits, other rakshas, serpents, and wild beasts. He did not ask for protection from mortal men, as he did not think that they would cause him any harm.

15. It is said that when Ravan’s son Meghanada was to be born from his wife Mandodari’s womb, Ravana “instructed” all the planets and the Sun to be in their proper position for the auspicious “lagna” so that his son would become immortal.

16. Ravan once broke his arm to construct a musical instrument to sing songs of praise for Shiva. It was called the RavanHatta

17. Ravana was well versed with Ayurveda. He authored Ravana Samhita which talks about the science of ayurveda. He wrote a book on Hindu Astrology called ‘Kaali Kitab’. He was also a maestro of Veena.

18. Ravana was cursed by Nandi that Lanka would be destroyed by a monkey. Later, Hanuman put Lanka in flames.

19. After Ravana and his brothers received boons from lord Brahma, Ravana planned on invading the kingdom of Amaravathi, the capital of the heavenly kingdom of Indra. Knowing Ravanas strength and capability Indra consults Narada for help. Narada tells Indra that Ravana is powerful because his family worships Lord Shiva and that the worship in turn gives them such tremendous power. Narada then suggests Indra that he disrupt Kaikesi’s (Ravan’s Mother) worship of a Linga which is made of sand. Indra disrupts the prayer by destroying the Linga. Knowing this Ravana then promises Kaikesi that he will perform penance and bring Lord Shiva’s Aatma Linga for her to worship.Goddess Parvathi comes to know about Ravana’s penance and fears that Lord Shiva might leave Kailasa and go to earth forever. Narada then suggests Goddess Parvathi that she seek Lord Vishnu’s help in this matter. Lord Shiva impressed by Ravana’s penance grants him a wish. Lord Vishnu then uses his magic to trick Ravana into asking Goddess Parvathi’s hand from lord Shiva instead of the Aatma Linga. Shiva grants Ravana’s wish. Goddess Parvathi then curses Lord Vishnu that he will also be seperated from his spouse the next time he is born as a human. This curse laid the path for Sita’sabduction and the Ramayana.

20. Ravan once broke his arm to construct a musical instrument to sing songs of praise for Shiva. It was called the RavanHatta.


21-30

Hanuman

21. There are many speculations on the birth of Hanuman, but the widely accepted one states that Hanuman was born to the king of Vanaras Kesari and Anjana (who was an apsara born as a female vanara due to a curse) as a boon from lord Shiva due to which he is considered as an incarnation of Lord Shiva.

22. Hanuman fought lord Rama in a battle and won. Rama was ordered by sage Vishwamithra to kill Yayati, an ally of Rama to which Rama obliged. Knowing this Yayathi went to Hanuman seeking his help, who in turn promised him that he would save him from any kind of danger without knowing that it was Lord Rama who was coming to kill him. Hanuman did not use any weapon in his battle against Lord Rama, instead stood chanting Rama’s name in the battle field. The arrows from lord Rama’s bow did not have any effect on Hanuman. Lord Rama then gave up and sage Vishwamithra relieved Rama of his word seeing the devotion and courage of Hanuman and gave Hanuman the name “Veer Hanuman”.

23. Hanuman had a son by the name ‘Makara Dhwaja’ who was a loyal soldier of Ahiravan the ruler of nether world (world of the dead), Ravana’s step brother. Makara Dhwaja defeated Hanuman in a duel when Hanuman went to the rescue Rama and Laxmana, who were kidnapped by Ahiravan.

24. Ahiravan was killed by Hanuman. He then made his own son Makara Dhwaja the king and left with Rama and Laxmana.

25. Makara Dhwaja was born to a fish (or crocodile by some texts). When Hanuman was on his way back after destroying Lanka, he bathed in the sea to cool himself off. While he was doing so a fish (or crocodile) swallowed some of the sweat from Hanumans body and Makara Dhwaja was conceived.



26. Valmiki was once told of a version of Ramayan written in stone that was even more well written than his. Jealous and inquisitive he searched for it. He was shocked to find the author was Hanuman. Its beauty of its made him weep. But it also depressed him that no one would read his version now. Hanuman promptly smashed the stone to bits because he hadn’t written the life of Ram for the sake of fame.

27. Hanuman is one of the 7 chiranjeevs (the immortals who will live till the beginning of the next Satya Yuga).

28. Hanuman rejected a pearl necklace gifted by to him by Sita saying “I don’t accept anything that does not contain Ram.” To prove his point he ripped his chest to show the presence of Ram in his heart.

29. Hanuman slayed the demon Kalanemi, while fetching sanjeevani herb. Kalanemi was sent by Ravana.

30. Hanuman also defied Sun from rising before time as it would have killed Laxman.


31-40

ram

31. Vashishta Maharshi the guru of Raghu dynasty named Rama. He explained that the name ‘Rama’ is made up of two beeja aksharas (alphabetical seeds): Agni beeja (Ra) and Amrutha beeja (Ma). Agni beeja energizes the soul, mind and body. Amrutha beeja reinvigorates the prana Shakti (life force) in all the body.

32. After the battle Vibhishana presented “Pushpaka Vimana” to Lord Rama, which his brother Ravana received after he defeated his half-brother Kubera. Lord Rama along with Sita returned to Ayodhya on Pushpaka Vimana.

33. After killing Vali, Lord Rama promised that Vali would have his revenge in his next birth. Vali was reborn as Jara, a hunter who was the cause of death of Krishna.

34. Bharata never sat on the throne of Ayodhya , instead he placed Lord Rama’s slippers on the throne and carried out his duties as a king on Lord Rama’s name. He returned the throne to Lord Rama when he returned to Ayodhya after defeating Ravana.

35. Pleased with his help during the battle with Ravana, Lord Rama granted Jambavantha a wish. Jambavantha then expressed his wish to fight Lord Rama in a duel. Lord Rama said he would definitely fight him, but not as Rama. Later in Dwapara yuga Krishna fought Jambavantha in a duel and defeated him. Jambavantha then realized that it was Lord Rama who in Krishna’s form defeated him.

36. Jambhavantha after his fight with Krishna asked Krishna to marry his daughter Jambhavathi.

37. Lord Ram had an elder sister by the name of Shantha or Shantai.

38. Vashishtha and Vishvamitra both were Ram’s gurus and both hated each other.

39. The Death of Ram – Ram wouldn’t die as Hanuman wouldn’t allow Yama (God of Death) to enter Ayodhya to claim Ram. To divert Hanuman’s attention Ram dropped his ring through a crack in the floor and asked Hanuman to fetch it back for him. Going down Hanuman reached the land of serpents and asked the King for Ram’s ring. The king showed Hanuman a vault filled with rings all of which were Ram’s. He told a shocked Hanuman that when in the cycle of time a Ram is to die he drops a ring down the crack so that a Hanuman can be diverted from his guard.

40. Lava and Kusha (Ram’s sons) went northwards and found two cities. Lahore (Got this name as Lava founded it) and Kasur (Got this name as Kusha founded it). Both of these cities are part of today’s Pakistan. There is a temple associated with Lava inside Shahi Qila, Lahore, Pakistan,The Temple of Lava.


41-51

rama

41. The concept of Lakshman Rekha is a myth. The valmiki Ramayan doesn’t mention a thing about it. It only mentions that Lakshman goes ahead to search for Ram after saying a prayer asking the deities of the forest and the pancha bhootas to protect Seetha devi. The Lakshman Rekha concept is something that was adapted by poets and writers of the latter times in their own literary works about Ramayan which eventually became a popular belief, especially this is mentioned by Mandodri in Lanka Kand in Ramcharitamanas.

42. Lakshman complained that he always had to follow Ram’s instructions even though when he thought they were unjust as he the younger brother and thus duty bound. Ram promised him that in the next life, he, Lakshman would be the elder brother, but also told him that he would still follow his instructions. They were reborn as Balrama and Krishna. And yet Balrama followed Krishna not because of seniority but because Krishna was always right.

43. Lakshman is the avatar of Shesha Naga. The mount of Vishnu.

44. Almost every Indian knows that Ravan was a great devotee of lord Shiva, but what most people don’t know is that Ravan had also composed a beautiful hymn called Shiva Tandav for lord Shiva. The hymn is very popular among Shaivites.

45. While Ravan lay dying Ram asked Lakshman to go up to him to learn all that Ravan had to offer since Ravan was a Brahman. At Ram’s behest, he rendered a discourse in politics and dharma to Laxmana.

46. There are as many as 300 versions of the Ramayana known to exist. The oldest version is generally recognized to be the Sanskrit version attributed to the sage Valmiki. Most notable are Ramavataram in Tamil, Buddhist (Dasaratha Jataka No. 461) and Jain adaptations, and also Cambodian, Indonesian, Filipino, Thai, Lao, Burmese and Malaysian versions of the tale.

47. Vali was famous for the boon that he had received, according to which anyone who came before him lost half his strength to Vali, thereby making Vali invulnerable to any enemy.

48. Vali had defeated Ravana as well. Once Ravana called Vali for a fight. He took Ravana in his tail and took him all around the world. Humbled, Ravana called for a truce.

49. Drona’s father was the Maharishi Bharadwaja, who was the pupil of Valmiki, who wrote Ramayana.

50. Parushuram, who appeared in Ram and Sita marriage, is also Guru to Bhishma and Karna.

51. Hanuman belongs to Ramayana while Bhima and his wife Draupadi belongs to Mahabharata. An old Hanuman told Bhima (searching for a flower for Draupadi ) who was vain about his great strength to lift his tail and Bhima could not.

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