Your Reading B for this week is Buck's Ramayana, pp. 374-432. You might want to read over the previous reading guide to remind yourself of what has happened so far.
p. 374. Journey to Ayodhya. Flying on Pushpaka to Ayodhya. Rama goes first to Kishkindhya and then to Bharadwaja's hermitage. Along the way Rama shows Sita where he first met Hanuman and where they burned Jatayu's body. Rama sends Hanuman ahead to announce their arrival to Bharata. Hanuman finds Bharata at Nandigram. Bharata weeps tears of joy at hearing news of Rama.
p. 383. Coronation. When Rama arrives, Bharata ties his sandals back on his feet. Plans for the coronation begin. Sugriva sends Hanuman to collect water from all the world's rivers as a gift for Rama. Manthara comes to Sita to ask for forgiveness. Vasishtha officiates at Rama's coronation. Rama gives many presents to Sugriva and Sita gives her pearl necklace to Hanuman. Vibhishana and Sugriva then return to their homes, and Pushpaka is given permission to return to Vaiśravana on Mount Kailasa.
p. 390. Sita abandoned. After almost 10,000 years, Sita becomes pregnant and wants to pay a visit to the Ganges. Rama learns that people are gossiping about Sita and how he took her back into his house even though she had lived with the demon king. When Rama hears the gossip he summons Lakshmana and tells him that he must go with Sumantra to take Sita to the Ganges and abandon her there. Lakshmana is upset but cannot disobey Rama's order. Vibhishana realizes Sita is in danger and goes to Narada to get his help in making sure that Valmiki will rescue Sita.
p. 394. Sumantra's story. Sumantra believes that Sita's banishment has been foretold. As young men, Sumantra and Daśaratha fought against the asuras of drought. Jatayu and Indra helped Daśaratha in his battle against the drought demons. Princess Kaikeyi was Daśaratha's charioteer in the war with the drought demons. Aja was Daśaratha's father and he was king during the time of the war with the drought demons. When Daśaratha was wounded, Kaikeyi took care of him, which is when he granted her the boons she would later use to banish Rama. Vishnu arrived on Garuda to defeat the drought-demons. The demons sought refuge from Vishnu with an old brahmin and his wife, surrendering to their protection in the name of King Aja. Vishnu was enraged. He killed the brahmin's wife and beheaded the demons. King Aja was furious at what Vishnu had done and the royal priest, Vasishtha, cursed Vishnu to be born on earth and to be parted from his wife. Sumantra believes Sita's banishment is a fulfillment of Vasishtha's curse.
p. 399. Sita and Valmiki. Lakshmana and Sumantra leave Sita on the shore of the Ganges. The Ganges speaks to Sita, inviting her to plunge into the river's waters. Valmiki then comes to Sita all covered with dust from the anthill and takes her into his hermitage. Sita gives birth to her two sons, Kusa and Lava, in Valmiki's hermitage.
p. 401. The festival. Rama plans a great public festival in the Naimisha forest. He invites Janaka, Sita's father, to the festival, along with all his old friends. Śatrughna goes to Valmiki's hermitage to invite him to the festival, not knowing that Sita lives there. He hears Kusa and Lava singing the song of the Ramayana as they practice for the festival. After one month, the festival grounds are ready and everyone assembles there. In Sita's place, Rama keeps a golden statue of her. Valmiki tells Kusa and Lava to sing a part of the Ramayana each day. The festival lasts for a year and every day the people are enchanted by the singing of Kusa and Lava. Rama realizes that the two boys are his sons and Valmiki explains that Sita has been living there in his hermitage for twelve years.
p. 412. Sita. Sita comes to Rama and requests permission to prove her innocence. Sita asks her mother the Earth to receive her if she had been faithful to Rama. When Sita swears her oath, four great nagas emerge from the ground and Mother Earth arises on a throne. She looks at Janaka, her husband, and smiles. She then takes Sita on her lap and they vanish below the ground. Rama rules for a thousand years more after Sita's disappearance under the ground.
p. 419. Rama's meeting with Time. Time comes to Ayodhya dressed as a hermit. He requests a private meeting with Rama; anyone who disturbs them will die. Durvasas the hermit arrives after a long fast, demanding to see Rama immediately. He threatens to destroy all of Kosala if he cannot see Rama right away. Lakshmana breaks into the meeting of Rama and Time, and so he must die. Lakshmana goes to the Sarayu river where he dies.
p. 423. The end. As Rama leaves Ayodhya for the last time, Lakshmi and Earth walked alongside him. Vibhishana is immortal so he cannot accompany Rama in the end. Sugriva gives Kishkindhya to Angada so he can accompany Rama. Jambavan and Hanuman do not go with Rama because they remain on the earth so long as the story of the Ramayana is told. In parting, Rama gives a golden bracelet to Hanuman, but Hanuman says the bracelet is worthless since it does not bear Rama's name. He rips open his flesh and shows that his own bones have the name of Rama written upon them. Rama seals Hanuman's flesh and gives him the ring which bears his name, the same ring which Hanuman had taken as Rama's token when he sought Sita in Lanka. Rama goes to the Sarayu river, and jumps in, followed by his friends and devoted followers. Chitraratha, the Gandharva King, waits by the gate of heaven as the souls ascend upward from the earth.
Modern Languages MLLL-4993. Indian Epics. Laura Gibbs, Ph.D. The textual material made available at this website is licensed under a Creative Commons License. You must give the original author credit. You may not use this work for commercial purposes. If you alter, transform, or build upon this work, you may distribute the resulting work only under a license identical to this one. No claims are made regarding the status of images used at this website; if you own the copyright privileges to any of these images and believe your copyright privileges have been violated, please contact the webmaster. Page last updated: January 15, 2005 1:35 AM