The Sons of Rama

- September 26, 2020

How much do you know about the sons of Rama? Keep reading for a quick recap.

After returning from exile, Rama, along with his brothers Lakshmana, Bharata and Shatrughna, used to visit their subjects and listen to their problems. Together they solved the problems of the people and made sure they were safe and content. One day, one of Rama’s men reported that he had overheard a launderer kicking his wife out of the house because, unlike Rama, he could not accept a wife when she lived in another house. On hearing this news, Rama started to debate with himself on whether or not to exile his pregnant wife, Sita, from the kingdom. In the end, he concluded that it was his duty towards his people to set the right example as their king, and decided to send Sita away. 

The next morning, Rama sent his brother, Lakshmana, to leave her in the jungle. In a perplexed state of mind, Lakshmana obeyed his brother’s orders, even if he did not wish to leave Sita all alone in such a thick, frightening jungle. Sita was all alone in the jungle when she encountered a snake and called for help. Hearing her cry, Maharshi Valmiki found her and told her that the serpent was from his hermitage that was nearby. He then gave her shelter in his hermitage and that’s where Sita gave birth to twin sons, Luv and Kush.

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Illustration: Pratap Mulick

Luv and Kush grew up in Maharshi Valmiki’s hermitage, with the Maharshi as their guru. He taught them everything – from the use of arms to the morals and values that they should abide by; he even taught them rituals and prayers. He also told them the story of the Ramayana, about how the Ayodhya prince Rama and his wife, Vaidehi, stayed together through thick and thin in the fourteen years of exile and how Vaidehi was kidnapped by Ravana, leading to war between their forces. When Maharshi told them that Rama exiled Vaidehi from the kingdom because of what the launderer had said, the boys were shocked at Rama’s cruelty. They thought about what may have happened to Vaidehi and wondered if they would ever meet her. Little did they know that Vaidehi was actually their mother Sita.

At the same time, in Rama’s kingdom, the Ashwamedha yajna was going to be performed. Rulers from all over the world along with their armies came to witness it. However, this ritual could not be performed by Rama without Sita being by his side. At this point, Rama actually thought about bringing Sita back to the kingdom but he could not disappoint his people. Thus, for this ritual, it was decided a golden statue of Sita would be used. A magnificent white horse with black ears was ready for the ritual. As a part of the ritual, Sage Vishwamitra tied the ceremonial gold leaf on the horse’s forehead, and then it was let loose while the army followed it.

Illustration: Pratap Mulick

After galloping unopposed through many kingdoms, the horse was spotted by Luv and Kush. Not thinking twice, the brothers stopped the horse and then realised they will now have to defend themselves from the army following it. Unaware that the horse belonged to their father, the boys agreed to fight. In the first attempt, the boys fought with their uncle, Lakshmana. Kush shot an arrow and took down Lakshmana’s crown. Lakshmana retaliated by wounding Kush. Enraged, Luv avenged his brother’s injury by defeating his uncle. Hanuman then took up the task of defeating the boys along with his army of vanaras. However, even his strength was no match to the bravery of the boys. The task of defeating them fell to Rama himself. However, when Rama met them, he was taken aback by their young age and asked them about their parents. They told him that they have never met their father but their mother is Sita. Hearing this, Rama fell unconscious, and in the interim, Luv and Kush defeated his army. They left Rama unconscious, took his crown, and headed home. 

Illustration: Pratap Mulick

On seeing the crown, Sita immediately recognised it as Rama’s. Luv and Kush took Sage Valmiki and Sita to Rama. They realized that Rama was their father and Vaidehi, the queen of Ayodhya, was none other than their mother Sita. When Valmiki advised Rama to take Sita back, he was still hesitant, worried about what his subjects might think. Sita couldn’t take any more humiliation. She prayed to Mother Earth who had given her birth to take her back in her embrace as a sign of her virtue. Perhaps her mother couldn’t let her be humiliated any further, as the earth split apart, swallowing Sita. It was thus that Luv and Kush were reunited with their father Rama, but at the cost of saying goodbye to their mother forever.

Read the entire story in Amar Chitra Katha’s The Sons of Rama, now available on the ACK Comics app as well as on all major e-tailer platforms.

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