Rama & Sita

The Rama and Sita story and how it relates to Divali

You are going to read a story as to why Hindus have this special festival and why they celebrate it. The importance being that it was a triumph of good over evil.

*The Ramayana*

The end of the story of the Ramayana celebrates the triumph of good over evil and the beginning of Rama’s rule: a golden age of peace and prosperity, justice and happiness. This is celebrated at the festival of Divali, at the end of October/beginning of November.

The story tells of how Prince Rama came to hear of a beautiful princess called Sita. Many men wanted to marry her, but her father had vowed that she would marry the first man to string an enormous bow that he possessed. Many had tried, but until Rama’s arrival no one had managed even to lift it up.

Rama picked up the bow as though it weighed nothing. When he drew back the bow string, the great bow string snapped in half. So, at the magnificent wedding ceremony, Sita became Rama’s wife. (Some say that another king called Ravana, who fell in love with Sita, also tried to draw back the bow but failed and as a cosequence felt angry and jealous of Rama’s victory.

Rama’s father, who was the king, was old and Rama’s stepmother was going to make absolutely certain that when he died, Rama would not replace him as king. She reminded her husband that many years earlier he had promised to fulfil her one thing that she wanted. Now she demanded that Rama be banished to the forest for fourteen years (in which time she thought he might die because no one can survive in a dangerous forest for that long) and that after the king’s death, her own son, Bharata would become king.

Sita and Lakshman, Rama’s brother went into the forest with Rama, and after the kings death, Bharata became the new king.in the absence of Rama.

One day whilst in the forest, Sita saw a beautiful deer running through the trees. Sita asked Rama to catch it for her. Rama left Sita with Lakshman and gave chase. Rama was gone for a long time and Sita became worried. Eventually fearing that something awful had happened to Rama, she persuaded Lakshman to find out where he had got to. The deer was actually an evil demon in disguise, sent by the wicked Ravana to lure Rama and Lakshman away from Sita. When Ravana saw Sita was alone, he kidnapped her and held her on his island Kingdom of Lanka.

When Rama and Lakshman found out they summoned the help of Hanuman, the monkey king and his monkey army. They built a bridge to the island of Lanka and after many weeks of fighting, the last battle was a head to head between Rama and Ravana. Rama drew back his special bow and shot an arrow at Ravana, the arrow pierced Ravana’s heart and the demon king lay dead.

Rama and Sita were re-united and eventually after their fourteen years in the forest, they were allowed to return home. Bharata had no option but to welcome his step brother home and give him back his kingdom. Everyone celebrated the return of the rightful king and his wife by lighting thousands of small clay lamps known as divas.

Every year, this story of Rama and Sita and their victory over evil is celebrated by the festival of Divali.