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Ramayana: A Basic Summary

Updated: Feb 15


A tale as old as time, except this beast is Ravana of Lanka, the 10-headed Demon King who is so NOT goals. He got super strength from Siva and basically immortality (even though no one can be granted immortality) from Brahma. He asked to be immune to everyone except for mankind, cause he’s like “I’m Ravana, the 10-headed Demon King, what ”man” is going to step up to me?”.

So Ravana basically conquered all of the 3 worlds, some of those fights he won from technicalities and his son being just as crazy and strong and immortal-enough as his dad is, but Ravana’s feeling pretty confident.



So the Gods are like, “Are we really just going to let this dude wreck us like this?” And they go to Vishnu and ask him to come to earth as a man and kill this demon dude. Vishnu’s like, ”Bet”, and so he comes to earth as Rama, the dude of all dudes. Rama was born to this noble king‘s first wife, and had 3 brothers. Lakshmana and Shattughna, twins born to the king‘s second wife, and Bharata, born to the king‘s third wife.

Rama is the most perfect a person can be, everyone loves and adores him and he’s treated with reverence everywhere he goes. When he’s 16 he proves himself by whooping up on these demons that were messing up this sacred ritual. He shoots one of the demons miles away into the ocean, just starting to get the word out that Rama is not to be messed with.

In the next kingdom over there’s a king with a gorgeous daughter, Sita. She is the woman of women just like Rama is the man of men. She’s Lakshmi’s avatar, so Rama is her guy. Her father (the king) said that he would only let the dude that could string Siva‘s bow have her hand in marriage. Rama doesn’t just string Siva’s bow, he breaks it in half. Which is rude, but they’re all happy.

So Sita and Rama marry, and then things just get worse for them from here. Rama is going to become the next in line for the throne. He’s the oldest, and he’s perfection on earth so literally no one is upset by this...except the kings third wife! She has to be persuaded to be upset by this so Rama can fulfill his destiny, but once she’s upset, she like super upset. The King absolutely adores his third wife and he comes to give her the good news, Rama is going to be king-in-waiting, but instead wifey number 3 is about to drop-kick his dreams. She wants Rama to be exiled for 14 years in the jungle, and her son Bharata to be crowned next king. The king wants to refuse this, he’s absolutely devastated by this, but third wife saved his life before so he owes her 2 favors.

Rama resigns himself to his exile, he tells his third mom that all she had to do was ask him and he would go, her son will make a great king, like Rama is seriously the nicest dude. Lakshmana decides he’s going with Rama, and initially Rama tells Sita to be a good wifey and hang tight for 14 years, but she’s like, “I’m not a good wife, I am the BEST wife, like you don’t even understand the absolute goddess you have as a wife, so give away all of my stuff cause I’m coming with you”. The trio venture out and stop on the outside of the jungle. Bharata finally hears what his mom has done and finds Rama to tell him that in no way does he want the throne and he’s going to exile himself as well. Rama talks him into going back for 14 years, but Bharata refuses to be the outright ruler. He gets Rama to step on these shoes and puts them on the throne. Bharata lives as similarly to Rama as possible and rules only in Ramas name. Best brother ever. The trio journey deeper into the jungle after Bharata and basically their entire kingdom comes after them. For 10 years things were fairly chill. Rama and Lakshmana were killing Demons and getting the jungle nice to live in. Eventually they have a huge battle, facing 14,000 Demons at once, and of course Rama beats them easily. This is where Rama gets on Ravana‘s radar. Ravana wants revenge after Rama killed a bunch of his people. So Ravana gets some bad advice, to kidnap Sita for revenge.

Ravana gets his uncle to Magic himself into a golden deer, so Sita would want him, and Rama and Lakshmana would go after him. Lakshmana can tell right away that the deer is a demon, and Rama figures it out not too long after. Rama decides he’s going to go after the deer and for Lakshmana to stay with Sita. Rama kills the demon-deer, but as he’s dying he yells out in Ramas voice, ”Help me Lakshmana and Sita!” Sita gets worried and says some terrible things to Lakshmana, like so harsh. So he ends up leaving her cause she’s just being mean, and Ravana seizes his chance to kidnap Sita.

The Demon King flies through the air with Sita, and she’s trying her best to get away, but she has to go to Lanka so that Rama will go to Lanka.

Rama is crushed at losing his wife, he’s ready to destroy the planet, but his brother calms him down and tells them they can get her back. No need to be a drama-king and end the universe over this. Lakshmana and Rama find the Monkey-King’s brother, who’s been kicked out to a specific part of the jungle that his brother can’t get to, cause otherwise his brother would kill him. Rama and Monkey-King’s brother become best friends forever and Rama helps with some monkey-usurping so the brother can take the throne.

The new Monkey-King sends thousands of monkeys all across the world to try and find Sita. Hanuman, Son of the wind, the coolest of all the monkeys, flies across the ocean and figures out where Lanka (And therefore Sita) is located.

Hanuman talks to Sita, who is having the worst of times in captivity. Hanuman is about to return from Lanka when he decides to be even more awesome than he already is. He gets himself captured, gets his tail caught on fire, and then burns all of Lanka. After that he leaves to go tell Rama the good news. Rama and all the monkeys gather at the ocean, trying to figure out a way to cross. Rama almost destroys the ocean (and the world again) before the Ocean god is like, “Seriously dude I think there are other solutions than destroying the world. This one monkey will tell y’all how to build a bridge and I won’t let it sink”. So the one monkey leads them in building a bridge across the ocean to Lanka.


Ravana is in trouble. He has one brother that’s a good dude that’s already told him that he has made the biggest mistake in taking Rama‘s wife. Not just because it’s Rama’s wife, but because you don’t take another man’s wife. Ravana is not acting like a king, he’s acting like a jerk and the good brother decides to leave and join Rama side. Ravana has another brother, who is a literal giant and the giant also thinks his brother is a jerk, but a brother is a brother so he’s going to help him fight. Ravana knows he’s on the losing side, but he’s willing to give up everything for Sita.

The fighting starts.

The monkeys are doing well until Ravana‘s son gets out there, he can turn himself invisible, which is kinda cheating, but it’s war so he’s just trying to win. He could’ve wiped out all the monkeys in one go, but Rama and Lakshmana decides to take some of it on, so basically everyone on Rama’s side is night night. The demons think they’ve won, but they forgot about Hanuman. Hanuman is supposed to get a few flowers that grow on this specific mountain, but instead he brings back the entire mountain (he ends up bringing this mountain over twice). The smell of the flowers not only wakes everyone up that was asleep, it brings back the monkeys that died as well.

So there’s more fighting to be had.

Ravana gets out there for a bit and Rama all but kills him, and tells the demon king that killing him today would be too easy, so come back tomorrow well rested and fight more.

So they fight some more.

Ravana loses everyone, his giant brother to Rama and Lakshmana. His son to Lakshmana. So many Demons gone to the monkeys. Ravana faces off against Rama. Rama kills the Demon King. After Rama comes out victorious, the Gods come to celebrate. Rama asks that all the monkeys who died come back. Good times to be had, now Rama just needs to see his wife, Sita.

Rama makes sure she gets all cleaned up and decked out before she comes out to see him. He has a whole crowd waiting for her to present herself. Sita comes out to see Rama and he is RUDE. Rama tells her that he fulfilled his destiny by killing the Demon King, but it wasn’t for her sake so she could just go be with someone else now. Rama calls his wife, who is chastity and purity personified, tainted. Sita is understandably upset and gets Lakshmana to build a fire, and tells everyone, “If I was ever unfaithful, either in my mind or otherwise, let me burn”. Sita walks into the fire and the fire God Agni brings her out, because she’s just that good of a person. Rama and Sita make up, and he says he just wanted public proof, cause HE believes her, but whose to say everyone ELSE would believe her…but still…not cool Rama. Ravana’s good brother is made king of Lanka. The Monkey-King and Hanuman are Rama‘s besties. Rama goes back to his kingdom and Bharata gladly gives Rama the throne. So begins the start of Ramas rule.




This summary of the Ramayana was based on the book, “The Ramayana, a modern retelling of the great Indian Epic” by Ramesh Menon. I highly recommend reading this book for yourself, the story is rich and fascinating. Its a battle of Good vs Evil, but also of honor and love, in so many different forms.



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