The seventh incarnation of Lord Vishnu, Rama is an all-time favorite among Hindu deities. The most popular symbol of chivalry and virtue, Rama is "the embodiment of truth, of morality, the ideal son, the ideal husband, and above all, the ideal king."
Rama's life and journey is one of perfect adherence to dharma despite harsh tests of life and time. Rama is said to have taken birth on earth to annihilate the demon king Ravana.
The primary source of the life and journey of Rama is the epic Ramayana as composed by the Rishi Valmiki.Though the epic has many version across the india but the main story of Shri rama's life is something like this.
Born as the eldest son of Kausalya and Dasharatha, king of Ayodhya, Rama is referred to within Hinduism as Maryada Purushottama, which means the perfect man. His Father, Dasharatha had three wives namely, Kaushalya, Sumitra and Kaikeyi. Rama was the son of Kaushalya, Lakshman and Shatrughna were the sons of Sumitra, and Bharata was the son of Kaikeyi.
The Ramayana describes the relationship between the brothers as intensely loving and devotional, although Rama and Lakshmana share a special, inseparable bond, while Bharata is especially close to Shatrughna. The four brothers enjoy an undiscriminating love from Dasaratha and his three queens, but Dasaratha's main affections are affixed upon Rama. Rama and his brothers are trained by Rishi Vasishta in the Vedas, religion, philosophy and the sciences. They are described as taller than the tallest men of modern times, possessive of exceptional acumen and prowess in the military sciences and arts.
Sage Vishwamitra takes the two princes, Rama and Lakshmana, to his ashram, as he needs Rama's help in slaying several Rakshasas(demons) that have been harassing him and several other sages living in the area.
Vishwamitra presents Rama with several astras and sastras (divine weapons) that will be of use to him in the future, and Rama masters the knowledge of all the weapons and their uses. Rama protected Yagna that had been organsied by Vishwamitra and some of his disciples. He killed two Demon name Subahu and Mareecha who tried to defile the yagna.
Rama also frees Ahalya, the wife of Gautama Maharishi, from a curse. She was cursed to turn into stone by her husband after a displeasing incident. However, the dust on Rama's feet touched the stone and turned it back into a woman again.
Sage Vishwamitra then takes the two princes to the Swayamvara ceremony for Sita. The challenge is to string the bow of Shiva, and shoot an arrow with it. This task is considered impossible for any ordinary king or living being, as this is the personal weapon of Shiva, more powerful, holy and of divine creation than conceivable. While attempting to string the bow, Rama breaks it in two. This feat of strength spreads his fame across the worlds and seals his marriage to Sita.
For the sake of his father's honour, Rama abandons his claim to Ayodhya's throne to serve an exile of fourteen years in the forest.His wife Sita and brother Lakshmana, unable to live without Rama, decide to join him, and all three spend the fourteen years in exile together. This leads to the kidnapping of Sita by Ravana, the Rakshasa (Asura) monarch of Lanka. After a long and arduous search that tests his personal strength and virtue, Rama fights a colossal war against Ravana's armies. In a war of powerful and magical beings, greatly destructive weaponry and battles, Rama slays Ravana in battle and liberates his wife. Having completed his exile, Rama returns to be crowned king in Ayodhya (the capital of his kingdom) and eventually becomes emperor, rules with happiness, peace, prosperity and justice—a period known as Rama Rajya.
Rama's courage in searching for Sita and fighting a terrible war to rescue his wife and their honour is complemented by Sita's absolute devotion to her husband's love, and perfect chastity despite being Ravana's captive. Rama's younger brothers, namely Lakshmana, Shatrughna and Bharata strongly complement his piety, virtue and strength, and they are believed by many to belong to the Maryada Purushottama and the Seventh Avatara, mainly embodied by Rama. Rama's piety and virtue attract powerful and devoted allies such as Hanuman and the Vanaras of Kishkindha, with whose help he rescues Sita.
There are many more contradicting stories evolve around Sita mata's Agni pariksha after her rescue from Ravana. One of the theory says When Sita came before Rama he did not even look at her and He told her that he had fought the war only to avenge the dishonour that Ravana had inflicted on Raghuvansa and Seeing this turn of events not only Sita but everyone present there were deeply shocked.
Sita could not bear it and she requested Lakshmana to prepare her a pyre upon which she could end her life, as she could not live without Rama. At this point, Lakshmana is angered at Rama for the first time in his life, but following Rama's nod, he builds a pyre for Sita. At the great shock and sorrow of the watchers, Sita walks into the flames. But to their greater shock and wonder, she is completely unharmed. Instead, she glows radiantly from the centre of the pyre. Immediately Rama runs to Sita and embraces her. He had never doubted her purity for a second, but, as he explains to a dazzled Sita, the people of the world would not have accepted or honoured her as a queen or a woman if she had not passed this Agni pariksha before the eyes of hundreds, where Agni would destroy the impure and sinful, but not touch the pure and innocent.
After returning from Exile, Rama and sita were leading blissfull life. However, one incident shattered their happy married life. Though there are many contradicting theory available in different version of ramayana the most acceptable by devotees is, Rama banishes his wife Sita, even as she is pregnant, asking Lakshmana to deliver her safely to Rishi Valmiki's ashram. He does so when it is reported to him that some subjects of his in Ayodhya believed that Sita was not fit due to her long captivity in Ravana's city. As a king is expected to uphold moral principles, Rama reluctantly banished Sita in order to uphold his duty as a king.
According to legend, Kusha and Lava are the twin sons of Lord Rama and Sita. Born in the forest after the banishment of Sita from Ayodhya, the twins were educated and trained in military skills as their mother took refuge in Sage Valmiki's ashram, located in a forest on the banks of the River Tamsa.
As Rama performed the Ashvamedha Yajna, a horse strayed into their forest, Rama sent Hanuman to retrieve the horses. Rama's sons Luv and Kush captured the horses. Hanuman, seeing Luv and Kush recognised that they were the son's of Rama. He let them capture him and tie him up. There Hanuman started meditating on the name Rama. Worried Rama sent his brothers to look for the horses. As they saw Hanuman tied up and two boys guarding him, they thought that the two boy had stolen the horses. So Ramas brothers started attacking Luv and Kush. Although Rama's brothers should have won, but Luv and Kush defeated them all, knocking them unconscious. Luv and Kush were protected by Hanuman. Then Rama himself went looking for the horses fearing that Hanuman and his brothers had been attacked. Rama found his brothers on the floor. He was enraged. He then started fiercely attacking Luv and Kush not knowing they were his children. Though his attacks had no effect on them he saw Hanuman meditating. At that moment he knew that Hanuman was protecting them. Rama then started attacking Hanuman. But none of his weapons had any effect on him either. The sage Valmiki then awoke the brothers and Hanuman, explaining to Rama that Luv and Kush were his sons.
When Devi Sita found out that Lava and Kusha had defeated Ayodhya's forces, she proudly revealed their/her identity. Once again voice was raised from some subject of ayodhya regarding luv and kush being rama's children. It was devastating for Lord Rama. He was torn between his duty as father, husband and king. Once again, with heavy heart he had to ask Sita to give test for her chastity and prove luv and kusha are really Lord Rama's sons. Everyone, was shocked hearing Lord Rama's words. Sita could not take this as today one mother's character has been questioned though she knew that Rama trust her but he was helpless in front of his duty. To give her children their right as Raghuvanshi Sita Sought refuge in the arms of her mother Bhumidevi(goddess earth ) . Lord Rama was shattered seeing Sita's departure to her origin but Sita was contented that at last her children are with their father.
Shri Rama was a paragon of virtues. Rama was not only kind and affectionate but generous and considerate of feelings for all around him. Lord Rama had a marvelous physique and captivating manners. Shri Ram had a magnanimous personality. He was extremely noble, generous, chivalrous and fearless. He was very simple and absolutely free from flamboyance.
Lord Rama is considered as a son unequalled in the world, and resembled Dasaratha in each and every aspect of good qualities. He never spoke a lie throughout his life. He always offered respect to the scholars and the elders, people loved him and he adored the people. His body was transcendental and outstanding. He was eloquent, attractive and adjustable to circumstances. He knew the heart of each and every human being on the earth (being omniscient). He had all the conceivable qualities of a king's son and was dear to the people as their own hearts.
Lord Rama was endowed with incredible transcendental qualities. The earth personified adored him, who was possessor of such virtues, who was indomitable, who was brave, and who was the unequalled Lord of all. To put succinctly, Sri Rama's life was a life of holy compliance, of stainless purity, of matchless simplicity, praiseworthy contentment, commendable self-sacrifice and remarkable renunciation.
To many, Rama is hardly different in looks from Lord Vishnu or Krishna. He is most often represented as a standing figure, He is always holding a bow and arrow and a quiver on his back indicating his readiness to destroy evils. A Rama statue is also usually accompanied by those of his wife Sita, brother Lakshmana, and the legendary monkey attendant Hanuman. He is depicted in princely adornments with a 'tilak' or mark on the forehead, and as having a dark, almost bluish complexion, which shows his affinity with Vishnu and Krishna.