Rama, or Ramachandra, is the hero and main character of the Ramayana, one of the most famous epics in Hindu literature. The story of Rama's life and adventures figures prominently in this text. As the seventh incarnation of the god Vishnu*, Rama inherited part of Vishnu's supernatural power. The son of King Dasaratha of Ayodhya and his wife Kausalya, Rama was chosen by the gods to kill the evil demon Ravana.

Rama married Sita, whom Hindu people consider to be the perfect wife. Rama and his brother Lakshmana defeated an army of Rakshasas, a race of evil demons. One of these demons, Ravana, kidnapped Sita and took her to his kingdom in Sri Lanka. With the help of the monkey god Hanuman, Rama and Lakshmana defeated the Rakshasas and killed Ravana.

epic long poem about legendary or historical heroes, written in a grand style

incarnation appearance of a god, spirit, or soul in earthly form

supernatural related to forces beyond the normal world; magical or miraculous

Rama and Sita were reunited and returned to Ayodhya, where Rama took the throne and ruled for many years. Toward the end of his reign, Sita disappeared into a crack in the earth. In despair at the loss of his wife, Rama walked into the river Sarayu and ended his life. The god Brahma* welcomed him to heaven.

See also Hinduism and Mythology ; Ramayana ; Vishnu .

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