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Sage Vishwamitra’s Blessings

The children grew up to become well educated and well trained young men. One day, sage Vishwamitra came to Dasharatha’s court and said: "I am performing a ‘Yajna’ (sacrifice). Earlier when I was to perform this ‘Yajna’, demons Mareecha and Subahu, sons of Tataka, descended and defiled the holy ritual. This time, I don’t want such a thing repeated. Please send Rama to protect the ‘Yajna’ from these evil forces. You will be doing a favor." Dasharatha felt very much concerned. After all, Rama was still a very young boy. Can he face such demons? There was a lot of discussion held and finally, the royal priest Vashishta explained to Dasharatha: "Vishwamitra is a great sage. Under his care, nothing untoward can happen to the prince."

The emperor then agreed to send his son with the sage. Obviously, Lakshmana would also go with Rama. The brothers’ left with Vishwamitra to the latter’s forestabode.

Vishwamitra took the brothers to visit several holy places before reaching his Ashram. On the way, at a riverside, the sage blessed Rama with the hymns for using the great weapons ‘Bala’ and ‘Atibala’. Both the brothers learnt the lessons. As they walked on, Vishwamitra narrated to them stories about the holy places. On the way, in a forest demon- woman Tataka attacked them with a ferocious roar, but Rama killed her. They then proceeded and reached the sage’s Ashram.

The ‘Yajna’ went off as planned. Mareecha and Subahu did come to spoil it but were prevented by Rama and Lakshmana. While Rama killed Subahu with his bow and arrows, a wounded Mareecha escaped running away. The yajna was successfully completed.

We should realize here that Rama accomplished this task with Lakshmana’s help.

After the Yajna, Vishwamitra took the brothers to Mithila, the capital of the kingdom of Vidisha, ruled by Janaka. He was also performing a yajna at that time. He had in his possession a great bow; bendig and tying its string was a challenging task. However, Vishwamitra was confident that Rama would succeed in this task. King Janaka extended a warm welcome to the party.

Vishwamitra asked Janaka to show the bow to the princes he had brought with him. Royal attendant brought the bow, and Janaka

said: "I have vowed that I will marry my daughter Sitadevi to any one who will bend it." Rama went and, lifting the bow bent it easily. There was no need to tie the string because as he bent it, the bow broke into two!

Janaka, who was content to see the bow bent, was overjoyed when it was broken. The King had two daughters, Sitadevi and Urmila. It was decided to give them in marriage to Rama and Lakshmana respectively. Dasharatha was sent for and on his arrival, preparations for the weddings began. Meanwhile, Vishwamitra made a request to Janaka: "I suggest you marry off Mandavi and Shrutakeerti, daughters of your brother, to Bharata and Shatrughna. Let their marriages also take place at the same time." Janaka gladly agreed and the marriages of all the four princes took place simultaneously.

Dasharatha returned to his capital Ayodhya accompanied by his sons and daughters- in-law. The newely wed couples happily began their wedded lives and were spending pleasant days. Meanwhile, King Ashwapati of Kekaya, who was Bharata's grandfather, desired to see him and sent his son Yudhajit to Ayodhya to fetch him. Bharata and Shatrughna went with him.

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You are Here! Sage Vishwamitra's Blessings
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