Ramayana, the epic we have been listening to since childhood and the holy lessons from the life of the legends are eternal. Lord Rama and his wife Sita, Laxman and Hanuman are the heroes we have been learning about since forever. We all have a thorough understanding of Ramayana until Rama escapes Sita from the clinches of Ravana, but what we are less aware of is, “What happens to Rama after Sita leaves the earth?”
Let’s have a look at the stories that explain Lord Rama’s life after Goddess Sita leaves him.
We all know when Lord Rama returned to Ayodhya with Sita and Laxman after defeating the mighty Ravana, the people of his kingdom questioned Sita’s chastity and purity because she had lived in Lanka. And being the ‘Maryada Purushottam’ Rama, he had to ask Sita for ‘Agnee Pareeksha’. Legends believe that it was done in order to demonstrate to the rest of the world that Rama wasn’t taking in an unfaithful wife, even though Rama personally knew she was faithful.
Another story mentions about Maya Sita who was the illusionary duplicate of Sita. It’s said that Sita prays to Agnee God to save her from Ravana and offers herself to Agnee God. Impressed by her prayers, the God of Agnee creates an illusionary form of Sita which Ravana abducts. On returning to Ayodhya, Sita takes up the Agnee Pareeksha and retains her original form.
However, after the Agnee Pareeksha, Sita leaves the palace at Ayodhya and goes on to live in an Ashram owned by Sage Valmiki. But of course, the story didn’t end here.
Why did Rama ask Sita for a second test?
Sita had been staying at Valmiki’s ashram for 12 years and hence, it gave the people of Ayodhya another reason to question her sanctity. she had to go through the Agni Pariksha to prove her purity. Again the rationale behind is same as before i.e., as a King for the sake of people.
But after proving her chastity through the agnee pareeksha, Sita offers herself to Mother Earth from where she came into this world. The place where the incident took place is situated between Allahabad and Varanasi, known as “Sitamarhi”.
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It’s not the Valmiki Ramayana, but the Padma Purana which sheds light on the way Rama’s life ended.
An Ideal King – Rama performs numerous yajnas for the benefit of the people of Ayodhya, who already think of their king as the best king ever.
Lava and Kusha: After Sita left, Lord Rama groomed his sons Lava and Kusha in a manner to hold important places in the kingdom.
Kala Deva meet Lord Rama: Kala Deva came to meet Lord Rama disguising himself as sage. He asked for a private meeting over a crucial matter but also raised a condition that whoever disrupts the meeting shall be beheaded. Lord Rama agreed and asked his brother Lakshmana to guard the door.
Sage Durvasa: Kala Deva reminded Lord Rama of his time being over on Earth and that he must leave with him. However, Lord Rama was bound by the love and devotion of Hanuman. Meanwhile, Sage Durvasa came to meet Lord Rama.
Sage Durvasa threatens to curse Lord Rama: Bound by the condition, Lakshmana asked him to wait which enraged Sage Durvasa and he threatened to curse Lord Rama. Lakshmana could not bear that and decided to let Durvasa in, thereby taking the consequences on himself.
Lakshmana Decides To Leave: Somehow, Lakshmana realizes that this situation was the hint to him to take a final way out. Indeed, he steps into the Sarayu river and takes the form of Ananta Sesha(many-headed serpent), the many-headed serpent.
Lord Rama Surrenders: After Lakshmana left, Lord Rama also surrendered himself in River Sarayu and went to Vaikuntha.
Some stories suggest that it was Hanuman and not Lakshmana who was guarding the door and to save Rama from Durvasa’s curse.
And this is how Ramayana comes to an end.