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Lav and Kush, the Royal Twins

From Valmiki's Ramayana, retold by Rohini Chowdhury

Classics Retold

Lav and Kush, the Royal Twins - from the Ramayana

A Midsummer Night's Dream - by William Shakespeare

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Lav and Kush were the twin sons of Ram and Sita.

Ram, their father,is worshipped in India as the seventh incarnation of Vishnu the Preserver. His story is told in the Ramayana:

Ram, the eldest son of King Dasaratha of Kosala, is exiled to the forest for fourteen years. His wife Sita and his younger brother Lakshman accompany him into exile. While living in the forest, Sita is abducted by the demon-king Ravan, ruler of the golden city of Lanka. Ram and Lakshman pursue Ravan to the very gates of Lanka. There a long and furious battle is fought. Ultimately Ram is victorious. He kills Ravan and rescues his wife Sita.

Meanwhile, their fourteen years of exile are over. Ram, Sita and Lakshman return to Ayodhya, the capital city of Kosala. Ram's father Dasaratha is dead, and his younger brother Bharat has been ruling as Regent. Bharat welcomes Ram joyfully, and Ram is crowned King of Ayodhya, and Sita his queen.

The people of Ayodhya welcome Ram as their king. But not all of them are willing to accept Sita - they feel that after spending so much time with Ravan, she could no longer be the pure and virtuous woman Ram had married and who had followed him into exile. Ram, hearing of the suspicions of his people, asks Lakshman to take the pregnant Sita into the forest and abandon her there. Sita, left alone in the forest, is found by the ascetics who lived in the ashram of the sage Valmiki. Valmiki gives Sita shelter. There, in Valmiki's ashram, Sita gives birth to Ram's sons, the twins Lav and Kush.

Valmiki is credited with composing the Ramayana, the story of Ram's life. It is said that he taught the Ramayana to Lav and Kush, and it was the twins who first sang of the glory of Ram, and brought the Ramayana to the people.

Now read the story of how Lav and Kush met their father Ram.

Lav and Kush, the Royal Twins cont'd...  next page
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See also: Ram, Prince of Kosala

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Last updated: April 2010. Copyright © Rohini Chowdhury 2002. All rights reserved.

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