Lord Ram comes down to Earth in every Treta Yug and the Ramayan has been sung millions of times in every Yug by different great saints. Thus, the story of every Ram avatara is slightly different from the other. Here, I want to share with you how Lord Ram's birth is described in both the Valmiki Ramayan and Tulsidas's Ramcharitmanas. The Valmiki Ramayan is supposed to contain the story of the latest Ram avatara which took place in this very kalpa. However, Tulsidas' Ramcharitmanas is believed to include incidents of Ram avatars from different kalpas too.
Lord Ram's birth according to the Ramcharitmanas (as shown in RSR, ASR and the Zee TV Ramayan):
- Earth was being tortured by Ravana. Demons were tormenting the Brahmanas. Innocent people were being killed. There was no limit to Ravana's violence and adharma.
- Goddess Earth along with all the devtas, gandharvas and sages went to Brahmalok for help. Bhoodevi(Goddess Earth) was grief-stricken with fear. Brahmadev came to know everything and realising in his heart his inability to help her, he said that only the immortal Lord Vishnu could help them.
- The devtas started discussing where could they find Lord Vishnu so that they may appeal to him. Someone suggested that they should go to Vaikuntha. Another said Lord Vishnu must be in Ksheer Sagar. Lord Shiva came there and told everyone that Lord Vishnu is present everywhere and will only be revealed by true love and devotion. So Brahma folded his palms and started praying to Lord Vishnu " Jai jai surnayak jana sukhdayak prantapala bhagwanta...." (This prayer is written by Tulsidasji and is present in the Ramcharitmanas. This prayer is sung both in Ramanand Sagar's Ramayan and Zee Tv's Ramayan).
- Knowing that the devtas and Bhudevi were terror-stricken and hearing their loving entreaties, a deep voice was heard which removed their doubts and anxiety. Lord Vishnu told the devtas not to worry and assured them that he would take an avatara in a human form along with his part manifestations (Bharat, Lakshman and Shatrughan). He told the devtas that he had promised Aditi and Kashyap that he would be born as their son. They have appeared in the city of Ayodhya as Dashratha and Kaushalya. Lord Vishnu said he will take birth in the form of four brothers. All the devtas and Bhudevi felt relieved.
- Then Lord Brahma went back to Brahmalok and instructed all the devtas to assume the form of monkeys and go down to Earth to help Shri Hari.
- King Dashratha, who was a great devotee of Lord Vishnu, was upset that he had no son. He went to Guru Vasishta's ashram and fell to his feet. Guru Vasishta comforted him in many ways and told him that he would have four great sons. Guru Vaisishta then summoned Guru Srngi and had a noble sacrifice performed by him for a birth of a son to the king. Agni dev appeared with an offering(payasa) of rice boiled with milk in his hand.
- King Dashratha gave one half of the offering(payasa) to Kaushalya and divided the other into two halves, one of which he gave to Kaikeyi. The remanent was again divided into two parts, which he placed in the hands of Kaushalya and Kaikeyi. Both gave these two parts to Sumitra. Lord Vishnu entered the womb. Many months passed by.
- It was the ninth day of the bright half of the sacred month of Chaitra. The moon had entered the asterism named Abhijit, which is so dear to Shree Hari. The sun was at its meridian. The day was neither too cold nor too hot. ("Naumi thithi madhu masa punita, sukala paccha abhijita hariprita" - This chaupayee from the Ramcharitmanas has been sung in all three Ramayans - RSR, ASR and Zee Tv Ramayan) . Lord Brahma perceived that Lord Ram's birth had approached. The devtas started praying to Lord Ram.
- Lord Vishnu appeared in front of Kaushalya. (The description of Lord Vishnu appearing infront of Kaushalya has been given in the Ramcharitmanas as - "Bhaye pragata kripala, dindayala kaushalya hitkari..." This song is sung in both ASR and Zee Tv Ramayan). He exhorted her by telling her the charming account of her previous birth so that she loved him as her own child. She requested him to turn to give up this superhuman form and turn into a baby who performed bal-leelas. Hearing this Lord Vishnu turned into an infant and started crying.
Differences and additional information in the Valmiki's Ramayan:
- The sacrifice performed by King Dashratha is given in great detail. It is given in the Valmiki Ramayan that King Dashratha himself goes to bring Rishi Rsyasrnga to perform the sacrifice for a child. [This incident is shown in both ASR and Zee Tv's Ramayan]
- Guru Vasistha asks Sumantra to invite kings whoever on Earth are pious, as well as Brahmans, Ksatriyas, Vaisyas and Sudras in thousands. He asks him to invite King Janak, ruler of Mithila, with great honour. Guru Vasistha tells Sumantra that King Janak would be the father in law of the sons of King Dashratha. Further he gives him a huge list of Kings to invite which includes the king of Kashi and the King of Kekayas(Father in law of King Dashratha)
- There is no mention of Bhudevi praying to Lord Vishnu for help.
- Lord Vishnu arrives himself, riding on the back of Garuda, in the meeting of the devtas and Lord Brahma.
- Kaushalya, Sumitra and Kaikeyi are said to be the forms of Hri(modesty), Sri(fortune) and Kirti(fame). Hri, Sri and Kirti are the daughters of Prajapati Daksha,
- The distribution of the Payasa(offering) is different in the Valmiki Ramayan. It says: The King gave half of the Payasa to Kaushalya and the king made over one half of the other half to Sumitra. Again he gave half of the rest to Kaikeyi. Then he gave the other half of the Payasa once more to Sumitra.
- There is no mention of Lord Vishnu appearing infront of Kaushalya.
Edited by harianant - 13 August 2012 at 3:13pm