The Ramayana is a Sanskrit epic that was written in India over a period of about a thousand years, with researchers placing the oldest phases of the book between the 8th and 4th centuries BCE and the 3rd century CE for later stages. One of the two major Hindu epics, the other being the Mahabharata, is the Ramayana.
The vast kingdom of Kosala, which was rendered fertile by the river Sarayu, was located to the north of the Ganga. Its main city, Ayodhya, was constructed by Manu, the illustrious leader of the Solar dynasty. It is evident from Valmiki’s account of Kosala that ancient Ayodhya was not inferior to our contemporary metropolis. The urban civilization has been advanced even in ancient India.
Ayodhya served as the kingdom’s capital under King Dasaratha. His popularity expanded across the three planets as a result of his battles on the side of the Devas. He was on par with Kubera and Indra. The inhabitants of Kosala were satisfied, joyful, and moral. The country was guarded by a powerful army, and no adversary could approach even the vicinity of the country.
In keeping with its name, Ayodhya resisted all adversaries. It had forts with moats around them as well as many defensive installations. (The name Ayodhya implies that it is not subject to conflict, or that cannot be subdued.)
Kosala; The territory that corresponds to the province of Awadha in modern-day Uttar Pradesh and western Odisha was once home to an ancient Indian monarchy known as the Kingdom of Kosala. This kingdom was renowned for its extensive cultural heritage. During the latter part of the Vedic era, it began to form a minor state and established relations with the neighbouring kingdom of Videha. Kosala was a part of the Northern Black Polished Ware civilization, and the territory that included Kosala was the cradle of the Sramana religious groups, which included Jainism and Buddhism. Because of its autonomous progress toward urbanisation and the use of iron, it was culturally distinct from the Painted Grey Ware civilisation that existed in the Kuru-Panchala region to its west throughout the Vedic era.
Eight sage ministers were always available to counsel Dasaratha and carry out his instructions. Vasishtha, Vamadeva, and other great Brahmanas led rituals and sacrifices and taught the dharma.
Taxes were low, and people who broke the law got the right punishment for their actions based on their abilities.
The king was surrounded by the wisest advisors and politicians, and his magnificence was as bright as the rising sun. Many years passed without incident. Dasaratha regretted the fact that he didn’t have a son, even though he was so affluent.
He had the idea to perform a horse sacrifice (asvamedha) in the early summer. Thus, he thought that he could appease the gods and get the boon of an offspring.
He spoke with his spiritual leaders and, on their recommendation, hired the sage Rishyasringa to carry out the Yaga. Many of the rulers of the neighboring countries were among the guests at the lavish Yaga. Yagas were difficult to perform.The sacrificial platform’s placement and construction have to be handled meticulously and precisely in accordance with the vedic guidelines. There were professionals whose advice was sought while setting up items.
It included the construction of a brand-new camp city that could house tens of thousands of people while also catering to and entertaining the invited guests, who included the princes and sages of the region.
In a nutshell, yagas back then were like the big, state-sponsored conferences and shows of today.
When everything was ready, the rituals were done in a way that was completely in accordance with the Shastras.
A meeting of the Devas took place in heaven concurrently with the yaga at Ayodhya. The Devas reported to Lord Brahma that Ravana, ruler of the demons, was causing them tremendous suffering and sorrow as a result of his intoxication with the power attained as a result of the blessing that Brahma bestowed upon him. Brahma was told by them: “We are not able to kill, tame, or conquer Ravana. He has become cruel and belligerent and treats everyone unfairly, even ladies, in the safety of your boon. He wants to overthrow Indra. “You are our only hope, therefore it is up to you to figure out how to kill Ravana and put an end to his oppression.”
Brahma was aware that he had granted Ravana the wish he had begged for, which was to be impervious to and unbeatable against the Devas, Asuras, Gandharvas, and other such entities. Ravana did not bother to request protection from humans because of his haughtiness. All the gods went to Vishnu in joy as Brahma disclosed this fatal oversight.
The Devas completely surrendered to Hari (Vishnu) and pleaded with him to take human form so that Ravana and his crimes might be stopped. Assuring the Devas that he would be born as one of the four sons of King Dasaratha, who was then offering a sacrifice for progeny, Vishnu consented and gave the Devas his word.
At the Yagasala of King Dasaratha, a magnificent figure carrying a bowl of gold emerged from the flames as the ghee was being poured into the fire, and the flames rushed up to meet it.
The figure addressed King Dasaratha by name and said: “You have delighted the Devas, and they are responding to your petition.”
For your women, here is the payasam that the gods have sent. “If they consume this miraculous liquid, you will be rewarded with boys.” Dasaratha took the bowl with unbridled excitement as if he were taking a child and gave the bowl of payasam to his three wives, Kausalya, Sumitra, and Kaikeyi.
He asked Sumitra to drink half of the payasam and gave the rest to Sumitra, Sumitra drank half of it and gave the rest to Kaikeyi. Kaikeyi drank half of what was then left, and Sumitra was handed the remainder once again.
Even as a beggar unexpectedly discovered hidden gold, Dasaratha’s wife rejoiced. And eventually, every single one of them became expecting moms.