birth_of_rama Surpanakha immediately went to Lanka to seek her brother Ravana’s protection. Ravana was furious when he saw the pathetic condition of Surpanakha. She mentioned that Rama, Lakshmana and Sita resided in Panchvati without any bodyguards. She said that Sita was the most beautiful woman on earth. Ravana devised a plan to abduct Sita. Ravana went to Maricha. Maricha had the power of changing himself into any form that he desired. Ravana asked Maricha to help him by assuming the guise of a golden deer and allure Rama far into the forest. Maricha tried to persuade Ravana to stay away from Rama but Ravana threatened to kill him if he did not agree to the plan. Maricha preferred to die at the hands of Rama, so he agreed to help in the abduction of Sita.

So when Maricha disguised as a golden deer proceeded toward the hermitage, Sita expressed her desire to possess it. Rama asked Lakshmana to protect the hermitage and went towards the forest in pursuit of the golden deer.

Gurus to tell children: All negative qualities and traits appear very attractive and tempting. But once caught in their lure, it becomes quite a struggle to come out of their clutches. For Sita, who sacrificed all her happiness, all her riches and all her worldly pleasures in order to be with Rama, unhappily there came a moment when she was attracted by a golden deer. The moment her sacrifice had turned into her attraction to this golden deer, then Rama became distant from her. Swami says that when we want to enjoy all that we see around us in the world and do not think of God and forget about the existence of the divine, we are not going to be happy at all. Values to be imbibed: All that glitters is not gold / Appearances are deceptive. When desires overpower us, we must exercise self-control; otherwise it will lead to self-ruin [Bhagavan puts it succinctly: When Kama comes, Rama goes]

After much pursuit, when Rama shot an arrow at the deer, Maricha collapsed on the ground. But before dying, he imitated the voice of Rama and cried out the names of Lakshmana and Sita. When Sita heard the voice, she requested Lakshmana to go to Rama’s assistance. Lakshmana did not want to disregard Rama’s order and said that nothing could happen to Rama. But Sita insisted. Lakshmana regarded Sita as his mother and could not turn down her order. He drew four lines around the cottage and requested Sita not to go beyond the line. As soon as Lakshmana left, Ravana transformed himself by wearing an ascetic’s apparel and approached the hermitage asking for alms. He could not cross the lines drawn by Lakshmana, so he begged Sita to come and give him alms as he was hungry. The moment Sita crossed the lines, Ravana forced Sita to get into his chariot.

Gurus to explain to children that, when our parents teachers and elders ask us not to do certain things or instruct us to remain within the house or school, we must obey them because any discipline enforced on us, is for our own good; if we try to break away from rules and regulations, it may lead to disastrous results. Value to be imbibed: The importance of the 3 Ds – Duty Devotion and Discipline: Unless we are saturated in Discipline, the other two will not be of much use, says Swami.

Jatayu, the king of eagles saw Ravana abducting Sita and engaged him in battle till Ravana cut the wings of Jatayu and took Sita away. Jatayu lamented and he refused to die before he met Rama. He wanted to narrate the incident to Rama and so waited prayerfully for Rama. Rama returned to the hermitage after killing the golden deer and found that Sita was not there. Rama and Lakshmana went in search of Sita. They came across Jatayu who narrated everything to Rama. Then Jatayu accepted water from Rama’s hands and breathed his last.

Gurus to explain to the children that Jatayu was so sincere and righteous; he was willing to fight against the unjust Ravana in order to save Sita. Gurus to explain how we should cultivate love and sincerity for performing right actions. Jatayu was so old and still tried to take on the powerful Ravana single-handedly. Chidren should learn to be courageous and be unafraid to: a) take on any kind of challenge in life and accomplish it to the best of their abilities. b) To stand up for the weak [Do not be a meek spectator when anyone indulges in bullying people around] [Gurus to emphasize that here, fight for right means taking the side of the right. They have to inform their parents and elders when they witness any unfair or unjust conduct and not necessarily involve in fighting]. Values to be imbibed: Be righteous in your actions/ Be devoted to your goals / Life is a challenge-Face it / Be heros not zeros /Sincere and righteous acts please God very much.

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