The City Ayodhya.
Ayodhya was a magnificent city on the banks of the river Sarayu. The people of the city lived a happy and contented life as they were ruled by a wonderful king called Dasharatha.
King Dasharatha had three wives Kaushalya, Sumitra, and Kaikeyi.
But he was an unhappy man for he was old and did not have any children. Being upset to see his sadness, the sages advised him to undertake a Yagna and pray for children. Heeding their advice, he performed the putrakameshti yagna.
During the ritual, a magical form appeared out of the holy fire and offered divine sweetened milk to Dasaratha and told him to distribute it amongst his wives. Dasharatha was delighted. He thanked God for this boon and he divided the kheer among his wives. The kheer did its magic. Four lovely sons were born to Dhasharatha.
Kausalya gave birth to Rama, Kaikeyi to Bharat, and Sumitra to Lakshmana and Shatrugana.
King Dasaratha was very happy. The princes grew up as individuals with good qualities. They excelled themselves in archery, reading, and hunting. They also learned about the holy books and learned how to look after the welfare of the people. They respected their gurus and the elders and gained the love and affection of the people of Ayodhya.
One day the great sage Viswamitra came to Ayodhya. He was received with a warm welcome.
Sage Visvamitra asked king Dasaratha to send Rama along with him, to protect him from the powerful demons, which were disturbing his sacrifice.
King Dasaratha was taken back by the words of visvamitra. Rama was dearer to him than anything else in the world. But he could not refuse the great sage visvamitra, so he agreed to send Rama with him.
Blessings and travels.
With the blessings of Dasaratha, Rama and Lakshmana followed visvamitra to the forest. They went into the Dandaka forest.
A Rakshasi called Tataka left with her Son Maricha. She had the strength of the thousand Elephants. She charms and spells. No one dares to enter the forest for fear of her. Vishwamitra told Rama to kill her. Rama pierced her heart with the deadly arrow. Tataka crashed to the earth. Vishwamitra rejoiced at Rama’s great skill. He decided to give Rama and Lakshmana the divine weapons, he had acquired through his austerities. Then the three went on towards SidashaRama which was the ashRama of Vishvamitra. The hermits requested Rama to guard the sacrifice. They were afraid that the huge demons Maricha and Subhagu could disturb the sacrifice.
Vishwamitra took the vow of silence and started an elaborate sacrifice. Rama and Lakshmana guarded the place day and night. On the seventh day when the sacrifice was nearly ending a terrible noise was heard. Rama looked up and saw Maricha and Subaru. Rama silently prayed and discharged the newly acquired divine weapon. With one arrow he hurled Maricha miles away into the sea. with another he killed subhagu.
Vishwamitra completed the sacrifice, the sages rejoiced and blessed the prince.