5, 000 years of Civilization & Culture
The Ramayana is one of the two great epics of ancient India, ascribed to the Hindu sage Valmiki. Consisting of 24, 000 verses, it tells the story of Rama, king of Ayodhya (in present-day Uttar Pradesh, India), whose wife Sita is abducted by the king of Sri Lanka, Ravana. After a protracted war, Ravana is slain, Sita rescued, and then made to undergo the “agni pariksha”, trial by fire, to attest to her purity during captivity in Sri Lanka. Though she emerges from the fire unharmed, Rama is still bothered by local gossip, and banishes Sita to the forest, to the hermitage of Valmiki. There, unknown to Rama, she gives birth to twin boys, Lava and Kusha – the mythical founders of the Pakistani cities of Lahore and Kasur.
Following is an excerpt from the book “Myths & Legends of India” by J.M. Macfie, which tells of the birth and upbringing of Lava and Kusha, and their union with their father, Rama. The story is taken from the Uttara Kanda, a later addition to the Ramayana by Valmiki, and begins below with Rama’s brother, Lakshmana, escorting Sita to the forest where she is to spend her exile.
(Further below is a longer, word-for-word translation of the story from the Sanskrit)