Valmiki Ramayana

Return to Ayodhya

As Ram, Laxman, and Sita preapared to return to Ayodhya, there was joyous shouts of Victory to Ram, Veer Hanuman ki Jai -- Victory to Hanuman. Gods from the Heaven poured flowers and garlands to celebrate and show their pleasure. A Divine Air-Plane --'Pushpak' -- was sent for Ram and his company so as to take them quickly to Ayodhya. Hanuman and Vibhishan also accompanied them to Ayodhya.

Bharat prepares to welcome Ram

Here in Ayodhya, Bharat was waiting for the arrival of Ram, Laxman, and Sita. He knew the day when Ram should return. He had counted every day of those fourteen years that Ram had to suffer in forest as a result of his mother's folly. He had ruled as the representative Ram, living like a monk -sanyasin. Ram's wooden sandals adored the throne during his absence.

[This love and sacrifice of Laxman and Bharat for their elder brother Ram is still cherished as an ultimate example of love between brothers. This glory of Indian ethos and culture is still sung in many houses as well on stages. Many plays are written and enacted now and then, in the past and present times also. But with the advent of science (materialistic, consumerist, utilitarian culture of modern times), where values like love and sacrifice are scornfully looked down upon as outdated emotionalism, many Indians too can find something worthwhile in this story of Ram.]

Bharat encouraged people of Ayodhya to celebrate the return of Ram with pomp and show. Actually there was no need to pass any order. The whole Ayodhya was eager to welcome her heroes. The whole city was decorated with flowers and garlands. Every house adored beautiful look of cleanliness and was lighted with candles and bulbs. Perfumes and scent filled the air. Every street was cleaned and watered, and decorated with hand-painted colorful designs.

[We Indians today also celebrate this victorious return of Ram on the auspicious day of Dassera. This is declared as a holiday; and schools, colleges, offices, and factories are closed. There is gaiety all around. Sweets are prepared in every house and distributed amongst friends and relatives.]

Brothers meet

The pleasant noise of aeroplane -Pushpak- reached the crowd below. There was a mad rush to see Ram first. Bharat and Ram hugged each other, tears flowing down their eyes. Ram inquired about the well being of Kaikeyi first, then about his mother Kausalya and Sumitra.

Kaikeyi had repented her harsh decision to send Ram to forest. In this act, she and the other two queens had become widows. The sobering effect of all these realities showed in Kaikeyi's changed behaviour of simplicity and humility. After salutations, Ram talked to them about his experiences of forest life. The story of Sita's kidnapping and Ravan's death were narrated. Hanuman and Vibhishan were introduced.

But all the three older queens were fed up with these worldly matters now! After praising the obedience and bravery of Ram, unparalleled love and sacrifice of Laxman, and extreme suffering of Sita, they requested Ram to permit them to retreat to forest to lead life of renunciation.

[This was quite natural in those days when elderly people used to renounce worldly pleasures and retire to loneliness of forest and Ashrams. They used to engage themselves in the worship of God, meditation and contemplation.]
Reluctantly, Ram agreed to their request, and thus Kausalya, Kaikeyi, and Sumitra left Ayodhya for forest life.

Righteous rule of Ram -- Ram Rajya

Soon, Ram was given his due honour as King of Ayodhya. Formal sacrificial ceremony was performed with gaiety and pomp. Ram ruled wisely. Food and shelter, water and fodder, everything was aplenty. Art and literature, craft and business prospered. Justice and peace prevailed every where. In fact justice was never denied or delayed because there was no crime!!! Everyone, including animals and trees, were happy and contented.

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