Illustrated Ramayana – Part 12

News of the rakshasa rout at Panchavati reached Lanka. Full of wrath, Ravana swore that he would go immediately to Dandakaranya to avenge the defeat.

But his counsellors pacified him saying that Rama could not be killed in battle by anyone. The only way to bring about Rama’s end was by stealing his wife Sita. Rama was certain to die of grief at the separation.

Others advised Ravana to be careful as Rama appeared to possess the power and might of a God.

While Ravana was still hesitating; Surpanakha came with her tale of disgrace and suffering. She spoke of Sita’s great beauty and urged Ravana to abduct her to avenge the wrong done to his sister.

Ravana’s mind was made up. He must secure Sita at all cost. After consulting his advisers he decided on a clever ruse to steal Sita from Rama.

Maricha, another rakshasa, would take the form of a beautiful golden deer and go to Panchavati. He would stray near Rama’s cottage. On seeing the enchanting deer, Sita was certain to ask the princes to get it alive for her.

The deer would disappear into the forest luring the princes away. At this moment, Ravana would appear at the cottage and carry off Sita.

Maricha knew that if he refused to obey Ravana he would be killed. To lure Rama also meant certain death. If: that was the choice, Maricha thought, it was better to die at the hands of Rama and go to heaven.

The moment Sita saw the golden deer she wanted it for a pet. Rama asked Lakshmana to look after Sita and went after the magic creature.