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Life In Forest and Story of Shurpankha

At Chitrakoot, Rama, Laxmana, and Sita passed their time in prayers, repetition of Lord’s name – japa, Yoga and meditation. Laxmana used to collect food items for morning and evening meals. Rama and Sita used to collect fresh flowers for preparing beautiful bouquets and garlands. The hut used to be decorated with these flowers, and at times Sita would be pleased to adore a flower or two in her long and beautiful hairdo.

Sita used to cook the food which consisted of roots, vegetables and milk preparations. In the evening supper consisted of fruits and milk alone. Thus they lived a very simple and peaceful life. Everyone was very happy. Thoughts of dissatisfaction, inconvenience, and longing for palace life never entered their mind anytime.

Many sages and Rishis, engaged in various spiritual practices and austerities, came to Rama for his advice in seeking God. Discussion went on the subjects like devotion – Bhakti, Karma -action, knowledge -Jnana, and meditation etc. Study of Holy Scriptures and Books was added pleasure when Rama used to enlighten them about the nuances and subtleties of the philosophical arguments therein.

Peace and tranquility descended on the land. Nature was equally hospitable to them with plenty of clean and fresh springs, healthy crop, fresh vegetables and fruits. It is believed that for more than twelve years the holy trio lived at Chitrakoot. Later they decided to move southward where the demons were creating lots of difficulties for the common folk to live peacefully. These Rakshasas (demons) used to beat up the sincere spiritual aspirants – sadhus and sanyasins – and used to obstruct their religious rituals. The purpose of Rama to incarnate on the earth was to destroy these selfish and wicked demons and free the land of evil tendencies so that righteous rule of truth, simplicity, love, and worship of God were reestablished again on the earth.

Journey Further Southward

The party thus moved to the forest of Dandakaranya in central India. The place is known as Panchavati near present day Nasik. Two huts known as parnakutis were erected for Rama-Sita and Laxmana respectively. On their way to Panchavati Rama met sage Atri and Agasthi and discussed certain aspects of devotion and karma theory.

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