The Skanda Purana

by G. V. Tagare | 1950 | 2,545,880 words

This page describes Rama’s Life which is chapter 30 of the English translation of the Skanda Purana, the largest of the eighteen Mahapuranas, preserving the ancient Indian society and Hindu traditions in an encyclopedic format, detailling on topics such as dharma (virtous lifestyle), cosmogony (creation of the universe), mythology (itihasa), genealogy (vamsha) etc. This is the thirtieth chapter of the Dharmaranya-khanda of the Brahma-khanda of the Skanda Purana.

Chapter 30 - Rāma’s Life

[Sanskrit text for this chapter is available]

Note: From this chapter onwards we are given a version of Rāma’s life. It closely follows original Vālmīki’s version as it excludes the Uttara-Kāṇḍa. The object of Rāma’s story is to glorify Dharmāraṇya by describing his munificent grants to the Brāhmaṇas thereof. But VR does not record it. In VR 1.32.6 Dharmāraṇya is the name of a town founded by Amūrtarajas (ṃe son of Kuśa).

Vyāsa said:

1-5. Formerly, at the advent of Tretā, the lotus-eyed Rāma, a partial incarnation of Viṣṇu, was born in the Solar race, as a scion of the family of Raghu.

Even as they were wearing side-locks of hair (i.e. were quite young) that Rāma and Lakṣmaṇa followed Viśvāmitra at the behest of their father. It was for the purpose of protecting the Yajña that the princes were entrusted by the king.

The heroic (princes), obeying the order of their father, were on the way holding bows and arrows, when an ogress named Tāḍakā came and stood in front of them for the purpose of creating obstacles.

At the behest of the sage, Rāma killed Tāḍakā. Gādhija (Viśvāmitra) imparted the science of archery to Rāma.

6. At the touch of the sole of his feet, Ahalyā, the wife of Gautama, who had been turned into a rock for her intimacy with Indra, regained her original form.

7. When the sacrifice of Viśvāmitra commenced, the most excellent one among the descendants of Raghu killed Mārīca and Subāhu with his excellent arrows.

8-9. The bow of Īśvara that was kept in the abode of Janaka, was broken. In his fifteenth year, O king, Rāma married the six-year old beautiful daughter of the king of Mithilā,[1] Sītā who was not born of a womb. On getting Sītā, Rāghava became contented and happy.

10. While he proceeded towards Ayodhyā, he saw the son of Jamadagni on the way. Then, O king, a terrible battle unbearable even to the Devas to see ensued between them.

11. After defeating Paraśurāma, Śrīrāma (the son of Daśaratha) came home accompanied by Sītā. Then he sported along with Sītā for twelve years.

12. In the twenty-seventh year of Rāma, even as the king was to crown him heir apparent to the throne, Kaikeyī requested him for two boons.

13-14. With one of them Rāma accompanied by Sītā and Lakṣmaṇa was to go in exile wearing matted hair, for fourteen years.[2] “May my Bharata be the heir apparent”, was the second (boon). It was due to being deluded by Mantharā’s words that she chose this boon.

15-16. The king banished Rāma accompanied by Sītā and Lakṣmaṇa. Rāma subsisted on water for three (days and) nights; he had fruits to eat on the fourth day; on the fifth day he camped at Citrakūṭa. Then Daśaratha departed to heaven crying “Rāma”.

17. Was it that he went to heaven to make the Brāhmaṇa’s curse true? Then Bharata and Śatrughna came to Citrakūṭa.

18-19. They intimated Rāma the departure of their father to heaven. Rāma consoled Bharata and made him (agree) to return. Then Bharata and Śatrughna came to Nandigrāma. Engaged in worshipping the pair of sandals of Rāma, both of them looked after the affairs of the State.

20. After visiting the great-souled Atri, he (Rāma) came to Daṇḍaka forest where, as a beginning of the slaying of hosts of Rākṣasas, he felled (killed) Virādha.

21-24. He stayed in Pañcavaṭī till half of the thirteenth year elapsed. It was then that the demoness Śūrpaṇakhā was rendered deformed, while he was wandering about in the forest in the company of the daughter of Janaka. The terrible Rākṣasa came to abduct Sītā. On the eighth day in the dark half of Māgha, on the Muhūrta called Vṛnda, the Ten-headed Demon (Rāvaṇa) abducted Sītā while the scions of the family of Raghu were away. He had gone to the hermitage of Mārīca and had managed to get Rāghava as well as Lakṣmaṇa taken far away through him in the guise of a deer. Then Rāma slew Mārīca who had assumed the form of a deer.

25-28. Coming back to the hermitage again, Rāma saw it bereft of Sītā. (In the mean time) being forcibly taken away, she (Sītā) cried out like a Kurarī (a female osprey): “O Rāma, Rāma, save me, save me, (from) being abducted by a demon.” Hearing that a demon infatuated with passion was carrying off the daughter of Janaka like a hungry falcon lifting away a screaming quail, the king of birds (Jaṭāyu) fought with the king of demons. Struck down by Rāvaṇa, he fell down dead on the ninth day in the dark half of the month of Māgha.

29-30. The two brothers Rāma and Lakṣmaṇa began to search for Sītā who had (by that time) been kept in the abode of Rāvaṇa. On seeing Jaṭāyu, they knew that Sītā was abducted by the Rākṣasa. The bird was cremated by him with devotion.

31-33. Rāma went ahead. Lakṣmaṇa followed his footsteps. They reached the vicinity of Paṃpā and blessed Śabarī. Sipping the water thereof, they saw Hanumān. Rāma made friendship with Hanumān. Then he approached Sugrīva and killed the monkey Vāli. Hanumān and others were sent towards his beloved by Lord Rāma.

34-37. The son of the Wind-god (Hanumān) went on his mission taking the ring (of Rāma) with him. On the tenth month, Saṃpāti informed the monkey about her. Thereupon, at his instance, Hanumān leapt over the ocean a hundred Yojanas wide (a Yojana=12 Kilometers). At night Hanumān searched everywhere all round in the city of Laṅkā. It was at the close of that night that Hanumān could espy Sītā. On the twelfth day (of the lunar fortnight), Hanumān settled on the Śiṃśapā (Aśoka) tree. On that night, he narrated the story (of Rāma) for inspiring confidence in the daughter of Janaka (to believe in him). On the thirteenth lunar day, his fight with Akṣa and others took place.

38-41. The monkey was bound by the miraculous weapon of Brahmā by Indrajit on the thirteenth lunar day. The Son of Wind addressed harsh and terrible words to that lord of Rākṣasas, though he was bound with the miraculous weapon of Brahmā. Laṅkā was burnt with the fire of the ignited end of his tail. The return of the monkey to Mahendra mountain was on the full-moon day. Starting on the first day of the lunar month Mārgaśīrṣa and spending five days on the way (the monkey) returned in a day (?) and at day time destroyed Madhuvana (the Grove of Honey). On the seventh day (took place) the handing over of the token of recognition (the crest jewel of Sītā) and reporting of all the details (to Rāma).

42-45. Sītā’s jewel was given. He intimated to Rāma everything. On the eighth lunar day with the asterism Uttarā Phālgunī, in the auspicious hour called Vijaya, at midday, Rāma set off on his march. “Even by crossing the ocean, I will kill the lord of Rākṣasas.” After taking this vow, Rāma started southwards. Sugrīva was his companion as he started towards the southern quarter.

Within seven days the army was encamped on the seashore. Beginning with the first day in the bright half of Pauṣa and ending with the third day, Rāma and his army waited on the ocean patiently.

46-47. Vibhīṣaṇa associated with Rāma on the fourth day. A meeting of the council for devising the means of crossing the ocean was held on the fifth day. Rāma observed protest fast unto death for four days. Acquisition of boon from the Ocean along with the direction of the means (to cross the ocean followed).

48. The bridge construction (across the sea) was started on the tenth day and was concluded on the thirteenth day. On the fourteenth day Rāma encamped his army on Suvela mountain.

49-50. Beginning with the full-moon day and ending with the second day (of the dark half), the army took three days to cross. After crossing the ocean Rāma of auspicious features accompanied by the heroic monkeys besieged the city of Laṅkā for the sake of liberating Sītā. The encamping (and deploying) of the army took eight days, beginning with the third day and ending with the tenth day.

51-53. Śuka and Sāraṇa arrived there on the eleventh day. The assessment of the army (was completed) on the twelfth day in the dark half of the month of Pauṣa. The strength and weakness of the leading monkeys was told by Śārdūla.

Beginning with the thirteenth day and ending with the new-moon day, Rāvaṇa assessed his army in the course of the three days and also encouraged them (with due incentives). Aṅgada went as a messenger on the first day in the bright half of the month of Māgha.

54-57. Sītā was shown the magically contrived head of her husband. Beginning with the second day in the bright half of the month of Māgha and ending with the eighth day, for a period of seven days, a fierce fight between the demons and the monkeys (took place).

On the night of the ninth day in the bright half of the month of Māgha, Rāma and Lakṣmaṇa were fettered with Nāgapāśa (serpentine noose) in the course of the battle by Indrajit. All the leading monkeys became desperate and bewildered. At the suggestion of Wind-god, Rāghava remembered Garuḍa. For the purpose of releasing them from the serpentine noose, Garuḍa came on the tenth day.

58. There was a temporary truce and cessation of hostilities for two days (inclusive of) the eleventh day in the bright half of Māgha. On the twelfth day Dhūmrākṣa was slain by the son of Añjanā (i.e. Hanumān).

59-63. On the thirteenth day, Akaṃpana too was slain by him in battle. Showing the magically contrived Sītā to Rāma, the Ten-headed Demon terrified all the (monkeys) in the army.

For three days beginning with the fourteenth day in the bright half of Māgha and ending with the first day in the dark half, (there was a continuous fight) and Prahasta was killed by Nīla.

For three days beginning with the second day in the dark half of Māgha and ending with the fourth day, Rāma had a fierce battle with Rāvaṇa and the latter was compelled to flee the battlefield.

Beginning with the fifth day and ending with the eighth day, effort was made by Rāvaṇa to wake up Kuṃbhakarṇa who began to eat incessantly for four days. Kuṃbhakarṇa fought in the battlefield for four days beginning with the ninth day.

64. As he began to eat many monkeys, he was killed by Rāma in the battle on the new-moon day, and there was an end of grief.

65. Beginning with the first day of Phālguna and ending with the fourth day, in the course of four days, five Rākṣasas including Narāntaka were killed.

66-68. Atikāya was killed in a three-day battle beginning with the fifth day and ending with the seventh. Nikuṃbha and Kuṃbha, two deadly Rākṣasas, were killed in the course of five days beginning with the eighth day and ending with the twelfth day. Makarākṣa was killed in four days.

Indrajit had victory on the second day in the dark half of Phālguna. There was a temporary truce for five days beginning with the third day and ending with the seventh day. It was due because there everyone was. urgently occupied in the task of bringing the medicinal herbs.

69. The evil-intentioned Rāvaṇa killed a magically created Sītā on the eighth day. Overwhelmed with sorrow, Rāma made the army stop (fighting).

70. Thereafter Indrajit of well-known power and prowess was killed by Lakṣmaṇa in the battle lasting for five days till the thirteenth day.

71. On the fourteenth day there was a cessation of hostilities. Hence the Ten-headed One had an opportunity for preliminary preparation. On the new-moon day Rāvaṇa came for the battle.

72. In the course of the five days beginning with the first day of the bright half of Caitra and ending with Pañcamī, Rāvaṇa continued the hostilities and the slaughter of the demons was immense.

73-75. Till the eighth day of the bright half of Caitra, the destruction of the chariots, horses etc. continued. On the ninth day in the bright half of Caitra, when Lakṣmaṇa was pierced with the Śakti (javelin) Rāma became infuriated and routed the Ten-headed One. Hanumān also fought. On the advice of Vibhīṣaṇa he went for bringing the medicinal herb from Droṇādri mountain for Lakṣmaṇa. He brought (the herb) Viśalyā (antidote for wounds) and made Lakṣmaṇa drink it.

76-77. There was cessation of hostilities on the tenth day. At night there was the battle of the demons. On the eleventh day, the (divine) chariot with Mātali as the charioteer, for the sake of Rāma, came there (to help) in the fight. After a battle lasting for eighteen days beginning with the twelfth day (of the bright half) and ending with the fourteenth day of the dark half, Rāma killed Rāvaṇa in a single combat with chariots.

78-80. The cremation of Rāvaṇa and others took place on the new-moon day. In the tumultuous and fierce battle Rāma gained victory.

Beginning with the second day of the bright half of Māgha and ending with the fourteenth day of the dark half of Caitra, the overall extent of the hostilities was a period of eighty-seven days. In the middle, truce was declared for fifteen days. The actual battle took place for seventy-two days. On the first day of Vaiśākha Rāma stayed on the battlefield. On the second day Vibhīṣaṇa was crowned as king of Laṅkā.

81-85. The (test of) purity of Sītā took place on the third day. Boons were granted by Devas. Daśaratha came (from heaven and gave his approval to it).

After slaying the lord of Laṅkā, the lord (Rāma), the elder brother of Lakṣmaṇa, took with him the meritorious daughter of Janaka, who had been subjected to misery by the demon and returned with great pleasure.

On the fourth day of Vaiśākha Rāma boarded the aerial chariot Puṣpaka. He returned by air. On the way to the city of Ayodhyā, when the fourteen year period was complete, on the fifth day of the month of Mādhava (i.e. Vaiśākha), Rāma and party camped in the hermitage of Bhāradvāja (? Bharadvāja). He came to Nandigrāma by Puṣpaka on the sixth day.

86-89. The great scion of the family of Raghu was crowned as the king of Ayodhyā on the seventh day.

Maithilī stayed in the abode of Rāvaṇa separated from Rāma for a period of fourteen months and ten days.

Rāma began to rule the kingdom in his forty-second year. Sītā was then thirty-three years old.

At the end of fourteen years Lord Rāma, the destroyer of the pride of Rāvaṇa, gladly entered his city of Ayodhyā. There Rāma ruled the kingdom in the company of his brothers.

90. After ruling the kingdom for eleven thousand years, Rāma went to heaven.

91. In the kingdom of Rāma the people were fully happy in their minds. The men became endowed with riches and grains as well as with sons and grandsons.

92. Clouds showered as much as desired. The vegetation was of good quality. Cows yielded plenty of milk. Trees yielded perpetual fruits.

93. There was neither mental anguish nor illness, O king, in the kingdom of Rāma. All the women were chaste; all the men were devoted to their parents.

94. Brāhmaṇas were devoted to the (study of) Vedas always; Kṣatriyas served Brāhmaṇas. Men of Vaiśya caste continued to be devoted to Brāhmaṇas and cows.

95. There was no mixture of castes and no transgression of duties. There was no barren or wretched woman; no woman had only a single child or had her child dead.

96. There was no widow; nor a woman with a husband bewailed at any time. None disregarded or insulted parents, preceptors and elders.

97. No meritorious person transgressed the words of old people; no one misappropriated other person’s land and property. People were not covetous of other men’s wives.

98. People were not bent upon slander. There was no indigent or sickly man. There was no thief, gambler, liquor-addict or sinner.

99. There was no thief of gold, no Brāhmaṇa’s slayer, defiler of preceptor’s bed, slayer of woman, murderer of children and speaker of falsehood.

100. There was no one wilfully depriving another of his livelihood; there was no perjuror, no rogue, no ungrateful wretch and no dirty person was seen.

101. Brāhmaṇas, the masters of the Vedas, were honoured always and everywhere. There was no anti-Vaiṣṇava or one not adhering to his vows, O king, in the famous kingdom of Rāma.

102-103. While he was ruling the kingdom his eloquent priest Vasiṣṭha, a son of Brahmā, returned after performing pilgrimage to various places. That illustrious storehouse of austerities accompanied by sages was duly honoured as his preceptor.

104. Rāma honoured him by standing up and offering Arghya, Pādya, Madhuparka and other things of worship.

Vasiṣṭha, the eminent sage, enquired about Rāma’s welfare:

105. “O Rāma, is there all-round welfare in the kingdom, cavalry, elephants, army, treasury—nay in the entire land, your brothers and your servants?” When the sage asked thus Rāma said:

106. “With the favour of Your Holiness I have all-round welfare.” Then Rāma enquired about the welfare of the great Sage Vasiṣṭha:

107-109. “I hope you are happy in the company of your wife and sons.”

He (the sage) narrated everything to him about all the holy places resorted to by him all over the earth—all the shrines and holy pools. Thereupon, the lotus-eyed Rāma who was curious, asked him about the greatness of the holy places and also wanted to know which of them was the most excellent one.

Footnotes and references:


The custom of child-marriage at the time of this Purāṇa-writer is reflected here.


This is not correct. Kaikeyī wanted to exile only Rāma. In VR II. 11.26a-27b, Kaikeyī asks: “May Rāma be an ascetic in the Daṇḍaka forest for fourteen years.” She did not mention the name of Sītā or Lakṣmaṇa at all.

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