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3. Sampoorna Ramayana (King Janaka and Princess Sita)

Today we reviewed the story of Rishi Gautam and his wife Ahilya from our last class. By a bad misunderstanding, Ahilya was cursed to become a stone statue. Lord Rama subsequently released her from her curse, giving her moksha. During the review, students felt that a Rishi is a role model for society and must be careful to think about the consequences of their actions. In this case, Rishi Gautam may have acted hastily without proper understanding of the situation.

We then continued to explore how Sri Rama handled the two demons, Maricha and Subhahu. Sage Vishvamitra had asked King Dasaratha for Sri Rama's help to protect a complex yagna he was planning to perform. Sri Rama and Lakshmana protected their ashram and yagna for 6 days and nights. On the last night of the vigil, army of demons or rakshasas led by Maricha and Subahu appeared to disrupt the yagna. Sri Rama fired at Maricha, causing him to fall far into the Sea, badly hurt but still alive. Sri Rama then defeated and killed the demon Subahu. We made a note of the fact that Maricha was defeated but still alive. This thread is going to tie later in the story and asked the class to look for the reference to Maricha in future.

After the Yagna, sage Vishvamitra, Sri Rama and Lakshmana traveled to the kingdom of Mithila which was ruled by King Janaka. He was another great leader and king, who was honorable, compassionate, and cared deeply for welfare of his citizens. Like king Dasaratha, he did not have any children. As a result of Janaka’s devotion and bhakti, he received the gift of a girl child from the goddess earth, while he was tilling the land. This beautiful girl was named as princess Sita. She was also known as Janaki (daughter of Janak) or Maithali (Princess of Mithila city)

We discussed the unusual and unconventional circumstances related to the birth of Sri Rama and Sita. Rama was born as a result of the blessings from the putra kameshti yagna or the holy fire. Sita was born from the womb of mother earth. One was as pure as fire; the other was as humble and stable as the mother earth. We discussed the symbolism related to these divine births, its meaning, and their character development.

In the end the class tried to draw pictures of these two birth occasions to compare and contrast the symbolic meaning behind Sri Rama and Sita’s birth.

As usual, we concluded the class with the closing prayer.

Hari Om !!

Shantanu & Nishant

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