elapsed and on an auspicious day Sita gave birth to twin sons. Ten days after the birth of
a child, the naming ceremony has to take pace. Valmiki himself sat as the priest and
conducted the ritual. The children were named Kusha and Lava. The twins grew up handsomely
day by day like the moon in the bright half of the month.
All the people in the hermitage loved these two charming boys Kusha and Lava. Some one
or the other would always be taking up the babies and playing with them. They would laugh
if the children laughed. If the children shouted, they too would shout. Especially the
sage Valmiki loved them very much. He would play with them; put them on his lap and sing
lullabies; lift them up and make them dance. He would even forget that it was getting late
for his rites and worship. He wanted that Sita should not feel sad that her children had
missed the happiness of the palace. He saw to it that the children grew up in happy
environs. This gave great joy to Sita.
Kusha and Lava grew up and played with other boys. After all they were princes. They
were very brave. They dragged hither and thither the lion-cup, which was in the hermitage.
They would tie the monkey to the cub's tail and clap their hands in joy. They made a
kitetn sit on the back of a tiger and made the latter run. If anybody seeing this tried to
discipline them. They would run and hide behind sage Valmiki. They made fun of the sages
also. Seeing their mischief, Sita would scold them.
Valmiki would make both the children sit on his lap; he would teach them songs of
prayer. Hearing the children lisp those prayers in a lovely way, both Valmiki and Sita
would feel immensely happy.
When Kusha and Lava were five years old, Valmiki arranged the tonsure ceremony of the
Traditionally, as soon as the tonsure ceremony is over, the teaching of the alphabets
starts. Sage Valmiki himself initiated the boys in studies. The two bright boys learnt the
alphabets in no time. They also acquired the ability to read and write anything. Valmiki
taught them the Shastras, mythology, music, archery and whatever else he knew. The boys
became experts in all those branches of knowledge.
Valmiki taught the boys the Ramayana, which he had composed. The boys learnt it by
heart and learnt to sing it to the accompaniment of the Veena (a stringed instrument).
Ramayana seemed to get a new felicity when they sang it. When they sang the poem the whole
hermitage appeared to forget it. Valmiki was very proud of it. Whenever any guests came to
the hermitage, he would make the boys sing a part of Ramayana.
Lava and Kusha were now twelve years old. Valmiki performed the sacred-thread ceremony
for them, thus giving them the right to learn the Vedas. They learnt the Vedic mantras by
heart. Along with that, the training in archery was also continued. The boys became
proficient in Vedas and also in archery. The sage, with the mystic power of his tapas,
provided them with swords and shields. In the meantime on a certain day Valmiki was called
by Varuna, the Sea-God. So the rishi asked Lava and Kusha to look after the hermitage
carefully and left for the world of Varuna.