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Ramayana - Pages 67 and 68

Pages 67 and 68
Copyright © The British Library Board

Add. MS 15297(2)

ff.69v (text) and 70r (picture)

The seventh and last book begins with Rama and Sita enthroned in Ayodhya, where Rama questions the various assembled sages about the history of Ravana and his ancestors. The resulting answers take up half of the book. When the story begins again, Rama and Sita are seen together relaxing and enjoying wine and music played by nymphs in the ashoka grove filled with wonderful trees, flowers and fruits in the gardens of the palace at Ayodhya. These are their last untroubled moments together.

This book contains 92 full-page paintings executed in a style related to that of Manohar but not by him. The artist employs a gaudier palette than his fellow artists. The first and last books of the Ramayana are later additions to the story. Into the epic but still human story there was woven the perennial struggle between good and evil. Rama the perfect man became identified with Visnu the preserver god, who had come to earth to intervene in the affairs of the world when the balance between good and evil had been upset. The evil Ravana, himself semi-divine, had previously extracted a boon from the god Brahma that made him invincible to all the gods and other divine beings - he had not thought it necessary to obtain protection against mere men or animals. In order to destroy him, Visnu the preserver god had to be born as a man and his only help could come from animals.

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