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Ravana abducting Devi Sita

(Ref: Valmiki Ramayana - Aranya Kanda - 46 to 49)

Ravana coming in the guise of a sannyasiMeditation: I meditate on Sri Rama staying in the Panchavati forest from where the events relating to the destruction of Ravana took shape.

Events:
1. Akampana reporting to Ravana: Akampana, a spy of Ravana reports the destruction of Khara at Janasthana to Ravana at Lanka (Valmiki Ramayana - Aranya Kanda - 31).

2. Akampana dissuading Ravana to march against Sri Rama: When Ravana decides to march against Sri Rama, Akampana describes the extreme prowess of Sri Rama and dissuades Ravana, for Rama is invincible (Valmiki Ramayana - Aranya Kanda - 31).

3. Akampana describing the beauty of Devi Sita: Instead Akampana describes the beauty of Devi Sita and suggests Ravana to abduct her so that Sri Rama dies due to the grief of loss of his beloved wife (Valmiki Ramayana - Aranya Kanda - 31).

4. Ravana going to Mareecha: Next morning Ravana goes to Mareecha in a chariot. Mareecha extends his hospitality. Ravana tells about his intention of abducting Devi Sita. Mareecha dissuades Ravana describing the great prowess of Rama and says that it is a suicidal thought Ravana returns to Lanka (Valmiki Ramayana - Aranya Kanda - 31).

5. Surpanakha going to Ravana: Surpunakha goes to Ravana and scorns him telling that a king oblivious of his dangers in the kingdom will not survive long. When Ravana asks about Sri Rama, Surpanakha describes his great prowess. Then Surpanakha describes the great beauty of Devi Sita and lures Ravana to abduct her (Valmiki Ramayana - Aranya Kanda - 33 to 34).

6. Ravana again going to Mareecha: Hearing the words of Surpanakha and thinking over it Ravana firmly decides his course of action (of abducting Devi Sita). He secretly takes his chariot and travels to the hermitage of Mareecha. The beauty of the coastline is described. Ravana sees a huge banyan tree similar to that associated with the legend of Garuda who carries a broken banyan tree branch on his beak (not allowing it to fall) so as not to disturb the penance of the sages over it (thus getting the blessings of the sages). Mareecha extends his hospitality to Ravana. Ravana tells his plan of the golden deer to Mareecha and requests his help. Mareecha becomes afraid and tries to dissuade Ravana saying that it will bring his own downfall. Mareecha recollects his two previous encounters with Rama. Ravana rejects his advice and says that he will kill him if he does not obey him (Valmiki Ramayana - Aranya Kanda - 35 to 41).

7. Mareecha becoming a golden deer: Mareecha goes near the hermitage of Rama on the chariot of Ravana. He assumes the form of a golden deer and moves near the hermitage. Devi Sita comes to pluck flowers and sees the deer in astonishment (Valmiki Ramayana - Aranya Kanda - 42).

8. Sri Rama going after the golden deer: Devi Sita calls Sri Rama and Lakshmana and shows them the golden deer. She asks Sri Rama to get the deer alive, or if not possible dead, so that she will sit on the beautiful deer-skin. Lakshmana warns that it is demon Mareecha in disguise. Sri Rama says that even if it is demon Mareecha, it is his duty to eliminate him. Sri Rama goes after the golden deer asking Lakshmana to guard Devi Sita (Valmiki Ramayana - Aranya Kanda - 43).

9. Sri Rama killing Mareecha: Sri Rama goes after the golden deer to capture it. The deer eludes him for a long time playing hide-and-seek and draws him away to a far-off place. Finally Sri Rama shoots an arrow and pierces the heart of Mareecha in the form of deer. Mareecha abandons the deer form and coming back to the demon form yells "Ha Sita, Ha Lakshmana", so as to also draw away Lakshmana from Devi Sita. Sri Rama understanding the danger hastily returns towards Panchavati (Valmiki Ramayana - Aranya Kanda - 44).

10. Devi Sita making Lakshmana search for Rama: When the cry of Mareecha is heard, Devi Sita asks Lakshmana to go and help Sri Rama. When Lakshmana tries to convince her that it is the voice of demons, Devi Sita accuses her of casting an eye on her. This becomes unbearable for Lakshmana who starts for Sri Rama (Valmiki Ramayana - Aranya Kanda - 45 to 46).

11. Ravana coming in the guise of a Sannyasi: When Lakshmana left, Ravana assumes the guise of a Sannyasi and comes to the cottage of Devi Sita. He praises her beauty and asks who she was and why she is alone in the forest. Seeing the garb of a Sannayasi, Devi Sita extends her hospitality, eagerly awaiting for Sri Rama to return (Valmiki Ramayana - Aranya Kanda - 46).

12. Ravana trying to woo Devi Sita: When Ravana asks about Devi Sita, she tells the story of how and why she is in this forest. She then asks about Ravana. Ravana tells about his identity and asks her to become his wife in Lanka. Devi Sita praises the qualities of Rama and tells him that she is tied with Rama in vow and there can be no comparison between Rama and Ravana. Ravana extols his own glory and points to the hapless situation of Rama. Devi Sita rejects him (Valmiki Ramayana - Aranya Kanda - 47 to 48).

13. Ravana abducting Devi Sita: Ravana in anger assumes his own form, abducts Devi Sita and takes her in his air chariot. Devi Sita wails and tells the forest deities to inform Rama about her abduction. Devi Sita sees Jatayu and tells him also to inform Rama about her abduction (Valmiki Ramayana - Aranya Kanda - 49).

14. Jatayu confronting Ravana: Jatayu first gives advice to Ravana about the probity of king, but of no avail. He then fights with Ravana, damaging his chariot and weapons, and injuring him with his beaks and claws. Finally, Ravana takes up his sword and cut off the wings of Jatayu. Devi Sita cries hugging Jatayu as if he was his own relative (Valmiki Ramayana - Aranya Kanda - 51).

15. Nature lamenting the abduction of Devi Sita: The whole Nature laments when Devi Sita was being abducted by Ravana (Valmiki Ramayana - Aranya Kanda - 52).

16. Devi Sita denouncing Ravana: Devi Sita denounces Ravana for his cowardly action of abduction (Valmiki Ramayana - Aranya Kanda - 53).

17. Devi Sita dropping her jewellery: While going over Pampa Sarovar region and seeing five vanaras, Devi Sita bundles her jewellery and drops them without Ravana noticing (Valmiki Ramayana - Aranya Kanda - 54).

18. Ravana bringing Devi Sita to Lanka: Ravana brings Devi Sita to Lanka and tells the female demons to take care of her and also commissions some demons to spy over Rama in Janasthana. She shows Devi Sita his beautiful palace with abundant luxuries and tries to woo her again. Devi Sita again praises the qualities of Sri Rama and chastises Ravana severely, predicting his downfall. Ravana in anger orders the demoness to hold her captive in Ashoka garden and try to remove her pride. He gives a month's time to Devi Sita to accept his proposal or be ready to lose her life (Valmiki Ramayana - Aranya Kanda - 55 to 56).

Pilgrimage:

Panchavati, Nashik, Maharashtra Panchavati is identified with Panchavati in the Nashik district of Maharashtra.


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