Illustrated Ramayana – Part 2

On an auspicious day, at a moment full of good omens, Kausalya, the eldest of the queens, gave birth to a beautiful child who was named Rama. 

Sumitra bore twins who were called Lakshmana and Satrughna. Kaikeyi, the youngest and the most beloved consort of Dasaratha, bore Bharata.

The four princes grew up amidst a wealth of affection and studious care. They became learned in all the arts of peace and war and were loved by the people.

One day there came to Dasaratha’s court the sage Viswamitra who was greatly respected for his penances by men, Devas and Asuras alike, Viswamitra told the Emperor that he was going to perform a mighty sacrifice for the good of the world and its people.

But the rakshasas roaming about in the forest were plaguing the rishis.

The sage wanted Rama to go with him to the forest to guard the sacrificial fire and protect the rishis from harm.

After much argument Dasaratha reluctantly agreed to send Rama and Lakshmana with Viswamitra.

On the way to the sacrificial spot Viswamitra taught the princes many valuable lessons in the course of which he told them how they could endure hardships and use powerful Astras (weapons).

As they moved forward, a Rakshasi called Tataka, who was held in dread by the Rishis as well as by the denizens of the forest, accosted them. Viswamitra advised Rama that though Tataka was a woman she was the very personification of evil.

It was right, therefore, that a prince like Rama should destroy the demon and rid the world of the evil. Thereupon Rama killed Tataka with a well-aimed arrow.

At Viswamitra’s Asrama, the sacrifice was performed for six days and nights. The princes kept vigil and warded off the evil spirits, which tried to desecrate the sacrifice.