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Rama Weds Sita

Rama frees Ahilya while journeying towards Janakpuri. He attends the Swayamvara and breaks the bow, winning Sita's hand.

After the death of the demons the sages were free to perform their prayers without any disturbance. Rama and Lakshman stayed on in the forest under the tutelage of Vishwamitra, who taught them the Vedas and other scriptures. Time passed by, and then one day Vishwamitra received an invitation from King Janak, ruler of Janakpur, to attend the Swayamvar (choosing of groom) ceremony of his daughter, Sita. Kings, princes and sages from all over were invited to attend the ceremony to win the hand of the beautiful princess. Vishwamitra asked Rama and Lakshman to accompany him, and so the three set out for Janakpur.

On the way to Janakpur they passed by a deserted cottage besides which lay the stone statue of Ahilya. According to legend, Ahilya was the wife of the learned Gautam Rishi. Ahilya was thought to be the most beautiful woman on earth, and hearing of her beauty, Lord Indira disguised himself as her husband and entered the home when Gautam had gone to bathe in the holy river, and seduced her. When Indira was leaving the hut after the seduction, he was met by Gautam who had guessed what had happened. So enraged was he that he cursed Indira by turning him into a eunuch, and he turned his wife into stone. He then added that she would be turned to a woman when the son of Dashrath touches her statue with his foot.

Rama then touched the stone statue with his foot and released Ahilya from her curse, turning her into a woman again. Ahilya thanked him and offered her prayers.

They proceeded onwards, stopping to take a dip in the holy river Ganga, and finally reached the beautiful kingdom of Janakpur. King Janak himself welcomed the sage. Vishwamitra introduced Rama and Lakshman to the King as the brave and divine sons of King Dashrath. Later on the brothers set out to visit the kingdom when they chanced upon Sita in a temple. Rama was immediately enraptured by her beauty, and Sita, in turn, fell in love with Rama. She prayed that she be wed to Rama.

Soon, the Swayamvara ceremony was held. A large, heavy bow of Lord Shiva, was placed in the center of the swayamvara hall, and Lord Janak announced that the person who managed to string the bow would win the hand of the fair Sita. The ceremony was open to all, and one by one every man in the room tried his hand at stringing the bow, but none of them could even lift it. Then all the kings collectively tried to lift the bow, but they still did not succeed. King Janak was now confronted with the prospect of Sita remaining unmarried, and he was overwhelmed with worry. Finally, it was Lord Rama's turn. As he walked towards the bow, and Sita's heart sank, sure that if such rugged and brave Kings could not even lift the bow, then the young and slender Rama would surely fail to do so as well. But Rama said a prayer and in one breath lifted the bow, strung it, and broke it into two with a thundering sound. Everyone was astounded and immediately broke into cheers. Sita walked up to Lord Rama and placed a garland around his neck. And so, they were wed.

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