Ramayana - Pages 69 and 70
Copyright © The British Library Board
Add. MS 15297(2)
ff.87v (text) and 88r (picture)
Rama's reign did not end happily. The people again began to criticise Rama for taking Sita back into his house and to appease them Rama sent Sita away to the hermitage of the sage Valmiki on the banks of the Ganges. There she gave birth to twin sons Lava and Kusa. In this picture Rama's brother Satrughna is returning with his attendants to Ayodhya from his kingdom of Madhu for the first time in twelve years and halts at Valmiki's hermitage. There he hears Lava and Kusa singing the story of Rama. The omniscient sage Valmiki composed his epic poem on the deeds of Rama and Sita and taught it to the two boys. When Rama later decided to perform the horse-sacrifice, suitable for only the greatest of kings, he camped near Valmiki's hermitage. Valmiki sent the two boys to chant his epic before him. From Lava and Kusa's first recitation of the story before Rama himself is reckoned the dissemination of the story which has been the basis of countless works of verse, prose and drama, and sculpture and painting, throughout India and Southeast Asia.