There were descendants of the Ikshvaku dynasty

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2 Introduction Centuries have passed and many of the epics written in Sanskrit and Tamil still live on deep in people's thoughts and memories. They are loved and passed on from generation to generation through stories and books. We think of the five epics in Tamil, the Panchakavyas (the five epics), Silapathikaram *, Manimegalai, Kundalakesi, Valayapathi and Sivaga Chinthamani and the Maha Kavyas (the great epics) such as the Raghuvamsa, Kumara Sambava from Kalidasa, Kirarjuniya from Bharavi , Sisupalavatham by Magar and Naishatha Charithra by Sri Harsha, all written in Sanskrit. The Raghuvamsa describes the powerful dynasty of Rama, beginning with the earliest beginnings and the descendants, including the biographies of the most important personalities. Thus the Raghuvamsa reveals the dynasty into which Rama was born. It developed out of the Sun (Surya) dynasty founded by Ikshvaku, the first to be born on earth. It was later named Raghuvamsa, the Raghus dynasty, after Raghu one of the most important kings of the Ikshvaku dynasty. Raghuvamsa shows that the wise men Vasishtha and Kaushika were on earth long before Rama. The life of the great poet and dramaturge Kalidasa is sketchy and shrouded in legends. Historians speculate that Kalidasa was founded in the 6th century BC. C. lived. Legend has it that Kalidasa grew up without an education and received the knowledge of Sanskrit through the grace of the goddess Kali in Ujjain. Countless works are ascribed to him, works that put other greats in Sanskrit literature in the shade. Each of his compilations was a masterpiece in itself. It is amazing that even scholars have no answer to what prompted Kalidasa to write the Raghuvamsa and when he began to do so. It is believed that Kalidasa wrote the work in the 10th century. It consists of 25 cantos, 19 of which are known, the others have not yet been found. Furthermore, the compilation ends abruptly. Therefore, details of various members and successors that are contained in the missing 6 cantos are missing. It is interesting to note that prior to the compilation of the Raghuvamsa there was no work describing the Ramas dynasty. So the exciting, unfortunately unanswered question arises, how Kalidasa was able to capture Rama's dynasty in such a level of detail. Another important aspect is that Kalidasa began its work in the 10th century and it was first translated into Tamil in the 15th or 16th centuries by the Lankan Tamil King Arasakesi, in sacred alliance with Singai Pararasasegaram, the Emperor of Jaffna in Lanka, who assisted Arasakesi in all matters of translation.

3 Arasakesi's work in Tamil was first published at the court of Raghunatha Nayak, the emperor of Tanjore in Tamilnadu. This leads to the conclusion that India and Lanka once operated lively exchanges. Further compilations in Tamil have been found in various parts of Lanka, leading to the assumption that Tamilnadu and the northern part of Lanka were ruled jointly by kings of the Tamil ethnic group, making the first translation of Kalidasa's Raghuvamsa into Tamil by a king of Lanka the scholars no longer astonished. The unspoken and hidden message of the Raghuvamsa is that when the universe was created by the Supreme Brahman (the numinous) it was determined that Vishnu would incarnate on earth in ten forms in order to periodically destroy the destructive forces. One of the ten figures is Parashurama, the sixth incarnation. Parashurama, a Brahmin by birth, destroyed the Kshatriyas (warrior nobility). The seventh incarnation as Rama was the destruction of the demon Ravana. The ninth incarnation, Gautama Buddha, liberated the oppressed by breaking the dominance of the higher castes. Brahman created four varnas (estates) brahmins, kshatriyas, vaishyas and shudras. None of the classes should dominate, because before Brahman, the Supreme, all are equal. The drama begins with the ten incarnations of Vishnu, who incarnated in different classes that dominated the respective epochs. Kalidasa's work briefly describes Vishnu as Rama and Parashurama which break down this aspect. In addition, the Raghuvamsa reveals how Vishnu had to go through interwoven things in order to incarnate as Rama. What Kalidasa created wasn't just a document, it went beyond that. Kalidasa must have acquired divine blessings and thus be able to tell the story of Rama, although the divinity of Rama was unknown to society. The Raghuvamsa reveals the Ramas dynasty, why it was originally called the Ikshvaku dynasty and later the Raghu dynasty. What happened before the Most High incarnated in certain forms to take on certain tasks. The Vishnu Purana tells that Brahma first created Daksha from His thumb. Surya, the sun god, was the son of Daksha and Aditi. Manu was born from Surya and created the solar dynasty, Suryavamsa. Bhagiratha, who brought the Ganga to earth, the sage Vasishtha, King Harishchandra, the compassionate King Sibi and King Sagara were important personalities of Suryavamsa. In Treta Yuga, Ikshvaku, grandson of Surya, was appointed Emperor of Ayodhya, which lay on the Sarayu River and whose capital was Kosala. The dynasty of the following kings on this throne was called Ikshvaku, although it was descended from Surya. The scholars believe that 118 kings ruled the empire under the Ikshvaku dynasty. Rama was the 58th king.

4 After the reign of King Raghu, a great-grandson of King Dilipa, the name Ikshvaku disappeared and the dynasty was called Raghuvamsa (Raghu Dynasty). * See> Couples Kannagi and Kovalan

5 King Dilipa Of the many kings of the Ikshvaku dynasty, King Dilipa was the most important, like Naktar in the Milky Ocean. Dilipa was pious, kind, unfathomable in spirit and demeanor, calm, generous, and was loved and respected by his people. No king came like him. His wife's name was Sudakshina, and his priest was sage Vasishtha. Unfortunately the couple was childless, Dilipa had no heir to the throne. How should the Ikshvaku dynasty continue? They went to Vasishtha for advice. Dilipa and Sudakshina bowed to the wise man, touched his feet and then Dilipa said: Great wise man, you have always been our advisor. Through your blessings we experience prosperity, without you we would be just dust. The rain always falls at the right time. My people know neither fear nor suffering. We owe all of this to you. Well, divine Protector, we are burdened by our childlessness. We are not allowed to offer Pinda Dhan (sacrifice to the ancestors) because we are childless. But Pinda Dhan should make their way to heaven easier for them. Oh Master, what have we done to make our hearts suffer from childlessness? Help us, explain to us how we can free ourselves from this guilt. Vasishtha replied: Dilipa, the cause of your suffering is in the past. The divine cow Kamadenu cursed you for being childless when you once passed her without noticing and greeting her. That is the reason for your current situation, your queen's lap remains dry.

6 King Dilipa receives a favor The desperate Dilipa considered his thoughtless act from the past and asked the help of the wise man to weaken the retroactive effect of the deed. There could be no break in the dynasty. Vasishtha advised Dilipa not to revive the past but to look to the future. The task was to appease Kamadenu by looking after her daughter Nandini. Vasishtha said to Dilipa: Kamadenu is currently in the lower worlds to take part in a fire offering to Varuna (god of water). So Nandini is alone in heaven. Take advantage of this time, go to heaven and protect her until her mother returns. Be with her when she grazes in the dark forest, walk with her when she walks and stand patiently when she stops, when she sleeps, sleep as well. You yourself lead the life of an ascetic, eat what the forest gives you, sleep on mats made of Kusha grass and worship Nandini every day until her mother returns. When Kamadenu appears, greet her with honor, she will forgive you for your wrongdoing and satisfy your desire for a son. Dilipa thanked Vasishtha, bowed at his feet, and left him. He didn't want to let any time slip by, the next morning the royal couple took a bath and went to heaven to take care of Nandini. They brought her fresh grass every day and Dilipa took her into the forest when she felt like it. In the evening he brought her back. Sudakshina washed her, fanned her air and did everything to make her feel good. Nandini, however, saw their intentions and decided to test their sincerity. One day, Nandini was grazing on the green slopes of the dark woods. Dilipa looked dreamily into the beautiful landscape as Nandini entered a cave. When Dilipa turned his attention back to the cow, he was shocked to see a lion leaping towards her, Nandini was already on the ground. He ran to it at once, took a bow and arrow, and wanted to kill the lion. But he couldn't move his arms. Then said the lion, O king, know that I am Kumbodara, a friend of Nikumbha, who is a follower of Shiva. None other than the Lord Himself has appointed me to guard this Devatharu tree. It is Parvati's favorite tree. One day a wild elephant rubbed its body on the tree, and the bark peeled off. Devatharu screamed in pain, writhing in agony.

7 Parvati asked Shiva to have the tree protected so that something like this could never happen again. The Lord asked me to watch here in the form of a lion, day and night. Loot rarely comes by, I live on grass and fruits, my strength is weakening. So understand, O King, that I want to satisfy my hunger in this cow. So put your arrows back in your pocket and get away from here. Dilipa replied: Listen, king of the forest. My guru has powers that can destroy the universe. He loves this cow, you can't kill her. Let them go and eat me instead. Kumbodara smiled and said: O king, if this cow is lost, your fiery guru can be appeased with other cows. But what will become of your people when you, their protector, are no longer? Think carefully, King, before you speak thoughtlessly. Dilipa remained unmoved by this wisdom: Lord of the forests, do not confuse me. Remember the proverb He who disappoints his master in trust, commits blasphemy. Would you disappoint Shiva's trust and allow the tree to be killed? Even millions of cows to replace this sacred cow could not please my guru because he loves her dearly. How should I look him in the face when I came back to him without that cow? Be gracious, oh lion, take me and let go of the cow. Hearing Dilipa speak like this, the lion finally agreed: Lay down your arms and be my meal. The cow can walk. Dilipa threw away the weapons and lay down in front of the lions. Then it rained blossoms from the sky and a sweet voice rang out: Stand up my son. Dilipa got up and instead of the lion Nandini stood before him and said: Heroic King, listen to me. I created this situation to test your seriousness. I am happy. You didn't hesitate for a moment. I grant you a wish. Dilipa bowed to Nandini and asked: Give me a son so that my honorable dynasty can continue. Nandini blessed Dilipa: Do not worry, your wish will come true. Pour my milk into a vessel and drink it. Dilipa saw how milk began to flow out of the udder, he quickly made a vessel out of leaves and filled it. The two bowed to Nandini, thanked her and went back to the Ashram Vasishthas. They told him everything that had happened, drank the milk with his consent, and returned to their kingdom.

8 King Raghu - War with Indra Sudakshina became pregnant and gave birth to a son. The king was overjoyed, the drums of joy were struck, the anklets of the dancers echoed through the palace. The whole kingdom rejoiced in Dilipa. The necessary rites were performed and the king named his son Raghu. Raghu grew up to be a fine person. As rivers flow into the ocean, so he immersed himself in the scriptures that taught him everything that makes a good king. He came of marriageable age and Raghu was married to a worthy princess. Shortly before Dilipa wanted to surrender his kingdom, Vasishtha appeared and told him to perform a horse sacrifice to ensure the continued existence of the kingdom. The sacrifice began. Raghu was entrusted with the supervision of the horse. Indra, the king of the gods, became jealous ... Dilipa would belittle his fame ... he stole the horse. When the sacrifice reached the point where the horse was to be brought, Raghu had to admit that he hadn't been paying enough attention. He was horrified and complained bitterly. Nandini heard this wail and hurried down from heaven to help Raghu, Dilipa's son, who was once so good to her. She offered her urine to Raghu in order to purify herself and to be able to look into the realm of Indra. Raghu challenged Indira in a loud voice: King of Heaven, first of those to receive the sacrifice, how dare you steal my sacrificial horse, the last one needed to end the sacrifice. You should get your just punishment for this, if you don't immediately release the horse. Indira replied: Honorable Prince, you speak wise words, but is it permissible to steal the fame of another? The horse sacrifice your father makes will dwarf Me as King of the Gods. Therefore I had no choice but to interrupt it. Keep listening to me As the highest being, Vishnu bears the title Purushottama, Shiva the title Tryambaka and I bear the title Sadakrutha, Lord of the Hundred Horse Sacrifices. If your father sacrifices this hundredth horse, My title is lost. So don't try to get it back. Remember how Sagara's sons fared with Kapila. (You can find the story under> Myths> Ganga.) Give up or war with Me awaits you. Raghu drew his weapons, the fight began, the earth drank the blood from the injuries they inflicted on one another. Airavata, the lord of the elephants of heaven and Indra's mount, watched the arrows fly, there was no winner, Raghu and Indra fell exhausted to the ground.

9 The wounded Raghu exclaimed, Mighty lord, I will keep fighting in honor of the Ikshvaku dynasty. Either my father will receive his due earnings through the horse sacrifice or I will take up my weapons again. Raghu's determination impressed Indra, and He granted the wish. So Raghu appeared at court. Dilipa received his wounded son with joy. As promised by Indra, even without the hundredth horse, he received the merits of one hundred horse sacrifices. Dilipa surrendered the throne to Raghu, withdrew into the solitude of the forest and at the end of his life went to heaven. The people of Ayodhya welcomed the coronation of Raghu, he was a just and good king like his father. His rule extended in all directions. The coolness of the moon and the heat of the sun were his nature. Raghu absorbed all wisdom, from dialectics to ethics. His wide-set eyes made his face look like the full moon, his actions were clear, the state coffers swelled with tributes from defeated and subjugated kings. The country's borders were secured and as autumn passed and spring approached, Raghu got into his car and elephants trumpeted through the four cardinal points on an unprecedented campaign of conquest. His courageous armies marched forward with a force equal to that of Gange when it fell to the earth through Shvia's hair. Kingdoms from Bengal to Kalinga were wiped out. The empires beyond Mahindra Mountain were also subjugated one by one. The wings of the kings were clipped and they were only released after they had submitted and surrendered their property to him. Raghu's glory stretched south across the Kaveri River, where king after king was defeated. His victory owls stood everywhere. After subjugating empires from Persia to Kashmir, he returned triumphantly and performed a Vishvajit Yagya, a fire offering to unite his great empire. He generously entertained the invited guests and gave them plenty of gifts when they left. Because of his generosity, wealth quickly ran out. There was nothing left when the sage Kausta appeared and wanted to ask for alms.

10 Wise Kausta and Raghu's Generosity When Wise Kausta, a disciple of Wise Varathanthu, went to Raghu to ask for alms in order to be able to reward his Guru, Raghu's treasury was empty. All he had left was an earthenware vessel. He welcomed Kausta, offered him water from this vessel so that he could wash his hands and feet and let him sit down. Of course, Raghu was aware of why the guest came to see him, for the same reason that everyone came to see him. He did not reveal to him that he had nothing left and said to the wise man: Oh great wise man, I greet you.Is your guru, the sage Varathanthu, from whom you received all your knowledge, well? Do the trees shade his house? Do calves and lambs jump around happily? So the king spoke to buy time before the question of alms came. All he could give were kind words, but not what the sage expected. Kausta, however, suspected with dismay that the king could not help him. So he spoke words of kindness: King of kings, under your rule everything flourishes for the best, wherever I go I notice this. As the sun drives the darkness away, so are your people worry-free. You are a role model in terms of discipline and so the elderly pass it on to their children. You make your ancestors proud. I did appear at an inopportune time. Continue to rule successfully, O King, may the Lord give you joy. The wise man rose and was about to go. Raghu stood up to him and said, Forgive me, honorable sage. I haven't asked you the reason for your visit yet. Tell me what can i do for you Embarrassed, the sage explained the reason for his visit: O King, I sensed your circumstances when you offered me an earthen vessel. It hurts me. When I started to study with my guru, he taught me the Vedas, Mimamsa, Purana, Dharma and everything related to it. I told him that I didn't know how to reward him. My guru refused to be honored because I served him devotedly. But when my apprenticeship years came to an end, the topic came up again. I was horrified at what he said to me now: For the fourteen million instructions that you have received from me, I ask fourteen million coins, one for each instruction. That was beyond my means, but I promised him to pay my debts and so I went to see you. But after realizing your situation, I didn't want to start talking about it. Do not worry, noble king, I will continue my journey and find someone to help me.

11 When the wise man was about to leave, Raghu said, Oh, good wise man, I will not allow you to go on with nothing. Be my guest, stay for two days and I'll try everything so that you can pay your debt. Raghu thought about a solution all night. Finally he decided to turn to Kubera, the treasurer of the gods, he would get the requested sum from him, if necessary by force of arms. Raghu took a lot of weapons with him in his car. At sunrise the king stood in front of the palace of Kubera and fell asleep. When he woke up, his treasurer came running up to him and told him that Kubera's treasury was full to the brim and that nothing could be left in it, so there were lots of coins lying around that they could all take with them. Raghu ran to the treasury, there Kubera stood smiling in front of him and asked him if he needed more. Raghu thanked Kubera, hurried to Kausta and laid the coins at his feet so that he could reward his guru. Kausta thanked and honored the king, but only wanted to take the fourteen million coins that he needed. Kausta blessed Raghu: may you have a glorious son and left the palace. Soon the queen gave birth to a son, they named him Ayan.

12 King Ayan - The Redemption of a Curse Ayan grew up, he eagerly accepted everything his teachers taught him. A new light in the dynasty was born. One day messengers from the king of Vidarbha appeared to invite Ayan to the feast of the choice of spouses (Svayamvara) Indumatis, the king's sister. Ayan gladly accepted this invitation and set off with weapons and escort. They reached the Narmada River, which carried an extraordinary amount of water. Suddenly a huge elephant rose from its waters and ran roaring towards the group. With presence of mind, Ayan drew his arrow and shot the elephant, struck him in the forehead. Blossoms fell from the sky a prince stood on the bank of the river and came towards Ayan. The stranger bowed to Ayan, greeted him and said: O King, I am Priyamvadha, a Gandharve (heavenly musician). I became an elephant through a curse from the sage Mathanga. At my fervent request, he lessened the curse a little. I would be redeemed as soon as a king of the Ikshvaku dynasty hits my forehead with his arrow. This has now happened. Priyamvadha continued: My King, I have been waiting for you for a long time. I am in possession of a magic arrow, Sammohanam, once shot it kills the enemy and comes back unscathed. I want to give it to you as a gift, it will be of great use to you. Ayan enthusiastically took the magic arrow, thanked Gandharven for this kind gesture and moved on towards Vidarbha. Upon arrival, Ayan was greeted by the king at the city gate and taken to the hall where the festival was to take place, a large number of princes and kings were already present.

13 Indumati chooses Ayan As the spouse election festival began, Princess Indumati stepped through the ranks to look at the applicants and choose the one. Like bees in a garden, so proud men populated the hall, each with the intention of conquering the heart of the beautiful princess. Since she was wearing a veil, the maids whispered the details of the suitor's appearance in her ear. A prince held a lotus in his hands, another pulled a diamond necklace from his pocket, there one proudly displayed his golden robe. So everyone tried to draw attention to himself in his own way. Only Ayan, stately and beautiful, stood there lost in thought and waited until the princess came over to him. It was all over for Indumati, she lifted her veil and put the garland of flowers on the chosen one. The people cheered, the king of Vidarbha rushed to Ayan and embraced him. He led him to his throne and informed the crowd that Princess Indumati had made her choice. The priests who had been waiting for it lit the fire and performed the wedding rites. Then the couple went to Kosala and Ayan promised to come and visit with his family. The King of Vidarbha loaded the wagons with presents, pulled a part of the way in the convoy and said goodbye halfway. The disappointed, rejected suitors tried to kidnap Indumati. Ayan did not hesitate and used the magical arrow he had received from Priyamvadha. So he reached Ayodhya unharmed with Indumati. King Raghu had already heard the news through his messengers and so the couple were received with great jubilation. Soon he handed over the affairs of state to his able son and withdrew himself into the solitude of the forest. King Ayan ruled the empire as gloriously as his father. Enemy attacks were put down, the people were fine, and honored and respected. Ayan was blessed with a son, radiant as the sun and known and famous all over the world. His name was Dasaratha.

14 Indumati's Death and Dasaratha's Enthronement Ayan was fortunate, he was a wise king, an impeccable hero, and his precious stone was Indumati. But the wisdom of a proverb came true - happiness is followed by suffering. The couple strolled through the royal gardens, picking flowers. Suddenly the garland of Narada's vina (string instrument) fell from the sky. Indumati fell to the ground, she was dead. Ayan lost her senses. His entourage wept, the swans and parrots screamed. Ayan sat down, laid Indumati's head in his lap and wept for his beloved: Indumati, how can it be that you were struck by flowers, is that thanks for all the love you gave me and the people? How can it be that your tender life has been taken from you and that I now have to remain alone in pain? Wake up again! Please wake up again! Trying to calm Ayan down, his followers took Indumati from his lap and carried her to the cremation site. When Ayan had collected himself, the death rites were performed. After ten days, disciples of the sage Vasishtha appeared to reveal the background to Indumati's death to Ayan: O King, Vasishtha sent us to deliver you from your pain. Indumati was a nymph in heaven in her last life, but she committed an crime. The sage Trinabindu had accumulated so many mystical powers through the strictest asceticism that Indra panicked once again and feared for his throne. He asked Indumati to disrupt the asceticism. She succeeded, but Trinabindu cursed her for it. When Aruna explained to the wise man that Indumati had acted on behalf of Indra, he was ready to weaken the curse. She would be born on earth and be allowed to live a happy life there as a princess and queen, until the garland falls from Narada's vina and kills her. Then the curse is released and she goes back to heaven as a nymph. Therefore, O King, do not mourn any longer, the nymph has left her worldly prison, the carnal body. Now take care of your people again. The disciples bowed and left the king. But the words couldn't comfort Ayan. He was just waiting for Dasaratha to be old enough to follow him. When he had handed over the throne to him, he retired to the solitude of the forest, did not eat or drink any more.

15 Dasaratha Is Cursed Like his father, Dasaratha also ruled wisely, expanding his dominion, and defeating all enemies with his royal army. The years passed in harmony, and Dasaratha married three virtuous women, Kausalya, the daughter of the king of Kosala, Kaikeyi, the daughter of the king of Kekaya, and Sumitra, the daughter of the king of Magadha. Yet once again fate showed its power and fundamentally changed Dasaratha's life. It was spring, a carpet of flowers adorned the earth, Dasaratha rode into the woods to hunt. After a while the hunting party stopped under the trees and Dasaratha heard a gurgling that is an elephant, he thought and shot in the direction from which the noise was coming. A scream was heard, Dasaratha ran to the water and saw a boy lying on the bank. With his last strength he said: O King, I only wanted to fetch water for my blind parents. Please find them and bring it to them. Then he died. The horrified Dasaratha took the dead boy in his arms and the water vessel in his hand and hurried to the parents, whom he had to tell that he had killed their son, albeit inadvertently. The old couple collapsed, but before they died, the man cursed Dasaratha: O king, just as you have brought suffering on us, you too will die lonely without your son by your side. Dasaratha accepted the curse, performed the death rites for the two of them, and went home saddened. For sixteen years he ruled in all splendor, but the offspring did not want to appear. Since he not only needed an heir to the throne to maintain the dynasty, but also a son in order to be able to venerate the ancestors, he performed the Putrakamyeshti sacrifice, which is connected with the request for a son. The Supreme Lord (Vishnu), resting in the ocean on the serpent Shesha, awoke when the gods came to Him and asked for help with a demon named Ravana. This demon had become overpowering, it destroyed the victims, interrupted the hymns and was about to conquer the sky and drive away the gods. The Almighty calmed them down and told them that He was aware of the problem. Through his strict asceticism, Ravana had won the favor of Brahma in the past so that he could only be killed by one person.

16 I will therefore incarnate as the son of Dasaratha. He is just about to ask for one with his victim. I will enter his wife's womb and Ravana's end is in the near future. From the sacrificial fire of Dasaratha appeared a being with a vessel in hands and said: Give your women this nectar to drink and your wish will come true. Dasaratha immediately rushed to his wives and asked them to drink the nectar. Kausalya gave birth to Rama, Kaikeyi gave birth to Bharata and Lakshmana, Sumitra gave birth to Shatrughna. Rama and Lakshmana and Bharata and Shatrughna felt connected. They grew up well protected and learned everything that princes can and should know.

17 Vishvamitra's Fire Offering and Sita 's Feast of Spouse Choice One day the sage Vishvamitra appeared to Dasharatha with a request. Demons repeatedly disturbed the fire sacrifices and since he had to perform a very important fire sacrifice, he asked for the protection of it by Rama and Lakshmana. Dasaratha was not very enthusiastic, the heir to the throne was only given to him after many rites, which when he died the curse of the old couple hovered over him like the sword of a demon. In return, he offered protection from his royal army. Vishvamitra thankfully declined this offer and repeated his request for protection from Rama and Lakshmana. Dasaratha's eyes filled with tears, he agreed. So the two princes went into the woods with the famous sage. They entered the realm of the demon Tataka, who was already waiting for them and shrieking in their way. Rama hesitated, he didn't want to kill a woman. But Vishvamitra explained to him that His commission would become a farce if He did not act here. Rama drew his sword and killed Tataka with a single blow. The news of the demoness's death reached Ravana's kingdom and her brothers Maricha and Subahu hurried over with a huge army. When the fire sacrifice began, they attacked. Rama and Lakshmana put them to flight with ease. Now the fire offering continued without interference. In the end, Vishvamitra blessed the two courageous princes and suggested that they accompany him to King Janaka, who is holding the feast of the choice of spouses for his daughter Sita. She should marry the hero who is able to draw the mighty Dhansuh bow of Shiva, which he had once received from him. On the way to Mithila, Rama released the wife of the sage Gautama, Ahalya, from her curse. (The story can be found under Gods and Demons> Indra and Ahalya.) She received a warm welcome from King Janaka. The competition started. Janaka welcomed the participants: I greet all honorable kings and princes. The sacred arch of Shiva is to choose the man to whom I will entrust Sita, whom I found in a furrow while plowing.

18 Rama marries Sita and breaks Parashurama's pride The best archers were gathered, but none of them managed to draw Shiva's bow. Janaka feared that the task was too difficult and that Sita would be left without a husband. Vishvamitra gave a sign to Rama and he entered the arena. Janaka could not imagine that this young prince would succeed in what strong, war-tried men had failed to do. Rama walked calmly towards the king, bowed, went to the bow lying on the ground, lifted it, cocked it and shot an arrow. Thunderous applause paid tribute to this act. Janaka was beside herself with joy. Dasaratha with family and house priest came to Mithila to attend Rama's wedding with Sita. The other three sons married the three Sitas sisters. Urmila took Lakshmana, Mandavi Bharata and Shrutakirti Shatrugna as husbands. On the way back, Parashurama, the glorious warrior, stood in their way. Parashurama, the sixth incarnation of Vishnu, wore the brahmin cord and shone like the sun and moon. He said: Oh, Rama, great warrior, I came to exterminate the warriors, to avenge my father. But we have the same name, which makes me hesitate to kill you. Don't be too proud of your heroic deed with which you won Sita to be your wife. See this weapon in My Hands, it is the bow of Vishnu. If you can tighten it and defeat me, then I will let you pass. Rama replied with a smile: Oh Brahmin, you know that the greatest crime is to kill a Brahmin for whatever reason. I will not be guilty of this act. Parashurama presented his bow to Rama. Rama took it as if it were a toy. Parashurama turned pale. He realized that before Him stood the seventh incarnation of Vishnu. Parashurama's pride was done, his mystical powers dried up and he turned into a simple Brahmin. Rama and his companions bowed to him and asked for his blessings. Parashurama blessed them and disappeared. (For the story of Parashurama see The Avatars of Vishnu)

19 Rama's Exile and Ravana's Death Everyone in the country was delighted with the heroism of the two brothers and the fact that Rama had found his queen in Sita. The reception turned into a great celebration. Dasaratha was old and considered it best to give Rama the throne now. But fate struck again. This time in the form of Kaikeyi's servant, Manthara. She reminded Kaikeyi of two promises that Dasaratha made her long ago and that she had not kept at the time. Now the time has come. Kaikeyi, the mother of Bharata, demanded that Rama and Sita be exiled for fourteen years and that their son should become king. Dasaratha, as a man of honor, had no choice but to grant the wishes. Rama and Sita left Ayodhya and retired to the forest. Lakshmana accompanied them. But Dasaratha's heart was broken and he soon died. The old couple's curse had come true. Dasaratha died in the absence of his son in pain over his exile. Bharata, who did not seek the throne and despised his mother's behavior, went into the woods and tried to bring Rama back.However, Rama kept to what had been agreed, after all it was his father's wish. Bharata took his sandals with him and placed them in front of the throne as a symbol of the presence of the rightful ruler, Rama. Bharata ruled the land wisely and successfully, but did not ascend the throne. Rama lived the life of an ascetic, Sita and Lakshmana took care of him. One day the sister of the demon Ravana, Surpanakha, appeared and approached Rama. After Rama rejected her, she tried Lakshmana in vain. She could not be driven away. Lakshmana cut off her ears and nose. Surpanakha was beside herself and hurried to her brother, the mighty demon of Lanka. He attacked the two brothers immediately, but hadn't counted on their strength. They routed his army. Surpanakha was only thinking of revenge, she told Ravana about the beautiful Sita, who would be exactly the right woman for him. Maricha, Ravana's brother, appeared as a golden deer in front of Rama's hermitage. Sita asked Rama to catch it for her. The deer ran deeper and deeper into the forest, Rama followed him. In the voice of Rama, Maricha called for help, and Lakshmana hurried after them. So Sita was alone and Ravana kidnapped her to Lanka. With an army of monkeys, Rama destroyed Ravana, freed His Sita and returned to Ayodhya after fourteen years.

20 Rama Returns and the Birth of Kusha and Lava The people cheered Rama, Lakshmana and Sita when they returned. Bharata returned the kingdom to Him. Rama ruled the country carefully, Sita became pregnant, the people were happy. But there were also bad voices ... Sita was with Ravana for a long time, who was she pregnant from? Rama rejected Sita and sent her to the hermitage of sage Valmiki. Now it was time to destroy a demon again, Lavanya was his name. Rama sent Shatrughna. During this assignment, he stopped by Valmiki and found out that Sita had given birth to twins. Shatrughna destroyed the demon, received thanks and honors from the wise men and ascetics and returned to Ayodhya. At Valmiki's request, he did not tell Rama about the twins. Valmiki wanted to do this herself at the right time. Shatrughna returned to his kingdom, which he later passed on to his sons Swagu and Vegusarugu. One day a loudly plaintive Brahmin brought his son to the palace. Rama promised the Brahmin that he would bring his son back to life. With deadly weapons Rama set out into the realm of Yama, the lord of death. Then he heard a voice: Stop, oh king, stop! Your country has been violated by an act. Find the culprit and kill him. Then your promise will be fulfilled. Rama ran in all directions to find the cause. He came across a man hanging upside down in a treetop. That was the crime, this kind of asceticism was frowned upon. Rama beheaded the man. At that moment the Brahmin's son came to life. When Rama returned, he was overjoyedly received by the Brahmin.

21 Sita Returns Rama continued to expand His kingdom. One day Agastya appeared, who advised Rama to make a horse sacrifice, for the blessing of His people and for the sake of good omens. Rama gratefully accepted the advice and the sacrifice was prepared. Since the sacrifice could only be carried out together with the king and queen, Sita took part in the form of a doll. Rama released the horse. It passed Valmiki's hermitage, Lava and Kusha took it. When Rama heard this, he asked Agastya to find out who they were. The wise man did not reveal his identity, Rama had to be patient until the end of the sacrifice. At the right time, Valmiki brought Lava and Kusha to the sacrificial site and opened the veil of mystery. Lava and Kusha are the heirs to the throne, the sons of Rama, born of Sita. Rama asked the wise man to bring Sita back and he would take her back when her innocence had been proven in public. Valmiki came with Sita and said: Sita, now the time has come to put an end to all doubts about your chastity. Prove here in front of everyone present that no one other than Rama ever touched you, that no one else was on your mind while you were with Ravana. Prove to the world that you are pure as fire. Sita had only waited for this opportunity, she swore her untouchedness through another man and prayed to her mother, the earth: Great mother, if I am pure as fire, then accept me into you. Then the earth opened, a ray of fire stuck out and Sita went back into the earth from which she had once come. The earth closed again, Sita was no longer there. Angry, Rama drew his sword and swore vengeance on the earth. Then Brahma appeared before him and reassured him that the end of the tasks on earth had come. Rama ended the sacrifice, giving rich presents to those present, Brahma's words always in his ears. Rama had lost his balance, after consultation with the sage Yathajit, he handed over the land of Sindhu to Bharata, who later bequeathed it to his sons Thaksha and Pushkala. Lakshmana also received part of the land, which gave it to his sons Angada and Chandraketu. So the Raghu brothers shared responsibility for the kingdom. One day the sage Durvasa appeared at Rama and informed him in a confidential conversation that his incarnation on earth was now over.

22 Lakshmana overheard the conversation and fell into deep sorrow, went to the Sarayu River, sat on the banks in meditation, his body was washed away, his soul rose to heaven. A part of himself had left Rama, if not born as twins, the two were as closely connected as twins. Rama surrendered his kingdom to Lava and Kusha and also went to the Sarayu River. His brothers Bharata and Shatrughna accompanied him. So the incarnation of Rama and his brothers ended after their task on earth to free the earth from demonic powers had ended.

23 Kusha marries a snake princess The brothers of the Raghu Dynasty chose Kusha as their leader, he was by far the bravest and most powerful of them. One day, while Kusha was in his apartment, he heard a voice and a strange woman stood in front of him. He asked her how she got through the closely guarded gates and the locked room and who her husband was. The negligently dressed woman whispered: Oh king, I have no husband, I am the patron goddess of Ayodhya, which has been completely ruined since your father left it. No matter how well you govern, your people may be happy, but if you do not care about Ayodhya it can no longer be compared with the times when your ancestors ruled. The streets and houses are in a desolate condition, it is no longer safe to go out, jackals howl at night, on the banks of the Sarayu River lie the remains of dead buffalo and sheep that the wild animals have killed. All in all, evil has taken hold in Ayodhya. So please come back and make Ayodhya back to what it used to be. When the woman had spoken like this, she disappeared. Kusha and his army immediately went to Ayodhya, had tents built in front of the city and guarded the reconstruction. Soon the city shone again in its old splendor. The law of the jungle was no longer valid, but that of justice. Kusha had built a functioning government apparatus and the people lived in old happiness again. The first thing after the reconstruction, Kusha performed a horse sacrifice. While bathing in the river, Kusha lost one of its ornaments. The local fishermen searched the bottom of the river and found it on the body of the snake princess Kumudavathi, the sister of the snake king. He wasn't ready to give it back. The fishermen came back to the surface empty-handed. Kusha got angry and set out to exterminate the snakes, if necessary with the help of Vishnu's mount, the eagle Garuda. That became too dangerous for the serpent king, he appeared before Rama and offered him Kumudavathi as his wife. Rama gladly accepted this offer, there was a lavish wedding party and the two lived happily together. Her son's name was Athithi.

24 The Beginning of the End After the birth of Athithi, Kusha went on a campaign to expand his empire. The peoples of the countries he conquered and ruled were free from worry and hardship and thus happy and content. Even Indra once asked him for help in fighting demons. The demons were defeated, their king killed, but Kusha fell too. Kumudavathi died of mourning and Athithi took over the reign. After Athithi's death, his son Nishadha took the throne. Other rulers after that were Nala, Nabha, Pundarika, Kshemadha Kshemadha's fame was the same as that of his predecessors, his people lived in prosperity and happiness. He handed the kingdom over to his son Devanika. Ahinahu, he too conquered many kingdoms and ruled them well. Pariyathra, another Kusha, Unnabha. Vajranabha, his fame was equal to that of Indras. Sangana Viyushidasa, he possessed mystical powers, entered the body of his wife and was reborn as Visuvadasa, who was a follower of Shiva. Hiranyanabha, who taught the sage Yajnavalkya the art of Adhyatma yoga, the yoga of knowledge of the self. Kausala Brahmishtha, who himself served Garuda, the mount Vishnu. Paushya learned yoga from Jaini Maharishi, whom he accepted as his guru. Dhuruvashanti, who was a passionate hunter and was killed one day by a lion.

25 Sudarshan, Dhuruvashanti's son, was still an adolescent at the time but was enthroned nonetheless. With Sudarshan the decline of the Raghu dynasty began. Despite his youth, he learned the art of governance quickly and quickly became a powerful king. He shone like a great blue stone amidst sapphires, he was a fiery lion, a king of the jungle. Because of his beauty and kindness, he became a magnet for women. The Kamasutra was soon more important to him than his country.

26 The End of the Raghu Dynasty After Sudarshan had enjoyed life, he gave the throne to his son Agnivarunan and retired to the Naimisha Forest. Agnivarunan had no opponents, his enemies withdrew, no one was able to strike back. The state apparatus worked for the benefit of the people and they were happy. So feeling safe, Agnivarunan indulged in sensual pleasures and passed his life more and more in dishonorable pursuits. He did not take any advice from his ministers, he spent his days in a frenzy until one day an incurable disease tied him to bed. Agnivarunan had no offspring and so the ministers tried to cover up the king's illness. They told the people that he had gone into asceticism in order to ask the gods for a son through renunciation and prayers. But one day the king was dead. The people did not even find out about this fact at first. The death rites were performed in secret and the cremation fire was lit. A conference was hastily called to decide that the queen should take the throne. She knew that this was the end of the Raghus dynasty, yet she ruled the land wisely and well, and had the full support of the people. This is where Kalidasa's Raghuvamsa ends - completely abruptly.

27 Epilogue Whoever ruled after Agnivarunan's wife is still hidden in the mist of the mystical to this day. Some scholars assume that after Agnivarunan's wife there were another 35 rulers in power of the Ikshvaku dynasty, the last being Sumatra, who ruled north of Surat in Gujarat. One thought is that Maru, the son of Shikraghu, who reigned after Agnivarunan, will appear in the Kali Yuga to revive the Raghu dynasty. Which lineage Maru came from is in the dark. Some stories say that the eighth ruler after Maru, King Brahathpal, fought the Pandavas in the Mahabharata together with the Kauravas and was killed by Abhimanyu. But neither in the Ramayana nor in Kalidasa's Raghuvamsa does one of these figures appear. Scholars suggest that they can be found in the scriptures that have not yet been found. Kalidasa was one of the gems among King Bhoja's ministers in Ujjain and the two had a close relationship. However, Kalidasa had the habit of disappearing without a trace from time to time until one day the following happened. Kalidasa went to a prostitute and introduced herself to her as a poet. Although in the service of the king, only a few knew Kalidasa; most had only heard of him. So it was almost impossible to find Kalidasa. Now King Bhoja urgently needed his friend Kalidasa and to find him he used a ruse. He offered a sum of money to anyone who could solve a riddle, knowing that only Kalidasa would be able to do it. So whoever brought him the solution had to know where Kalidasa was. The prostitute Kalidasa was staying with wanted the money and the unsuspecting Kalidasa gave her the solution, a verse in Sanskrit. The prostitute then killed him in his sleep so that he would not appear at the king's house in front of her and take away her profit. When she appeared at the king's office and asked for the sum, the king paid it out, but in return demanded that she lead him to the person who had written down the solution for her. When the events were told, he hurried to Kalidasa. Bhoja had mystical powers that allowed him to raise the dead for a few hours. When he arrived at the prostitute's house, he used this art. Kalidasa woke up, they both hugged and cried.