Illustrated Ramayana – Part 3

The sacrifice over, Viswamitra took the princes along with him to Mithila where the pious king Janaka was the king.

At a lovely spot on the way there was a lonely untenanted hermitage. The sage told the princes that the lonely hut was once the abode of the greatsoul Gautama.

One day, unwittingly, his wife Ahalya committed a great offence. Gautama cursed her to spend her days lying in ashes until such time as Sri Rama came there. He added that she should worship Him in order to rid herself of the curse.

Sage Viswamitra led the princes to the Asrama where the youths hastened to touch her feet in all reverence.

Ahalya, in her wondrous lovely form offered unto them the highest hospitality, and her curse fell off. Gautama also appeared on the scene and the hermit-couple paid homage to Sri Rama.

At Mithila, King Janaka showed the princes the mighty bow of Shiva, the Destroyer. So far no one had been able to lift the bow or bend it even slightly. Janaka had declared that he who bent or wielded the bow would win the hand of his daughter, Janaki, or Sita as she was better known, in marriage.

At Viswamitra’s bidding, Rama lifted the bow and pulled the string, when Io! the famous bow snapped in two in his hands. The crowds of people who were watching could scarcely believe their eyes.

Dasaratha was sent for and preparations were made on a grand scale for the wedding of Rama and Sita.