The greatest Indian epic, the Ramayana was written by the famous sage Valmiki. This famous Hindu scripture was composed in the poetic form in Sanskrit. The Ramayana is the tale of the triumph of good over evil, where Lord Ram fought and killed Ravana to rescue his wife Sita. The epic is filled with lessons of our culture and also helps us understand the true meaning of love, devotion, courage, and valour.
Short Stories from Ramayana for Children
The original epic is written in Sanskrit language and it may be difficult for your kid to understand it. However, if you want your little one to get a sneak peek into one of the legendary epics, here are few short stories for kids from the epic Ramayana.
1. Why is Hanuman Called Bajrangbali?
The ever-curious Hanuman once saw Sita mata adorning her forehead with vermilion. Hanuman asked, “Sita Mata, why are putting vermillion on your forehead?” Sita was amused by the curiosity of Hanuman and answered, “I apply it to ensure the long life of Lord Rama.” Listening to this, Hanuman smeared his whole body with vermillion. Lord Rama was so amused that he burst into laughter. He called Hanuman close to him, and said, “I am amazed by your love and devotion for me and from now on, people will also know you as Bajrang Bali.” Bajrang in the word Bajrangbali means orange.
2. Lord Rama’s Sister Shanta
Lord Rama also had a sister, apart from his three bothers. Not many know, and it is also believed that all four sons of king Dashrath were not told about the existence of their sister Shanta. Shanta was the eldest child of King Dashrath and Queen Kaushalya. Queen Kaushalya had an elder sister, named Vershini, who did not have any children of her own. So, during one of her visits to her younger sister Kaushalya, Vershini asked for Kaushalya’s child. King Dashrath agreed to give Shanta to Vershini.
3. The Story of Hanuman Disobeying Lord Rama
Hanuman was considered the biggest devotee of Lord Rama. It was believed that he never disobeyed his Lord, however, there was this one time when Hanuman did not agree with Lord Rama. This incident happened after the coronation ceremony which made Hanuman extremely sad and disappointed. To get over his morose and sullen state, Hanuman starting meditating, sitting in one corner. But he was so sad, that tears would not stop rolling from his eyes. Seeing him deeply saddened, Sita mata informed Lord Rama about Hanuman’s plight. Lord Rama went up to Hanuman and told him that he is in no position to give anything to Hanuman in return for his love and devotion. Further, Lord Rama offered that he can only take Hanuman with him to Vaikuntha. Listening to this, Hanuman’s face lit up, and he asked Lord Rama if he would be accompanied by Lord Rama to Vaikunth. Lord Rama replied that he would be present there but in the form of Mahavishnu. Hanuman got disheartened and thus refused to go to Vaikunth. He did not want to be present in any place where Lord Rama was not there.
4. The Story of a Squirrel
The king Ravana had abducted Sita mata and taken her along with him to Lanka. There was a massive ocean that Lord Rama had to cross in order to get Sita mata back. The entire Vanar sena (army of monkeys) and all the animals started helping Lord Rama to make the bridge to get to Lanka. Lord Rama was deeply moved seeing the dedication and passion of his entire army. He noticed that a tiny squirrel was also working tirelessly. The squirrel picked up tiny stones in her mouth and kept putting them near the boulders. The enthusiasm of the little squirrel was crushed by a monkey when he made fun of her saying that she should stay away from the boulder or she would get crushed. Seeing the monkey laugh, all the other animals also started making fun of the little squirrel. The squirrel was hurt and started crying. The upset squirrel went running to Lord Rama and complained about the whole incident. Lord Rama then assembled everyone and showed them that how the pebble thrown by the little squirrel was acting as a connector between the two boulders. Lord Rama also stated that no contribution is small or big, but what matters is the intent and devotion. Appreciating the hard work and effort of the squirrel, Lord Rama lovingly stroked the squirrel’s back. The gentle stroke left three stripes on the squirrel’s back. It is believed that before this incident squirrels did not have stripes on their body. This is a great moral story for kids which will help them recognise the importance of both little and big efforts.
5. The Story About How the Demon King Ravana Got Ten Heads
Ravana was the biggest devotee of Lord Shiva. To please Lord Shiva he underwent severe penance. One day in order to appease Lord Shiva, Ravana decided to chop off his head. When he chopped off his head, it grew back again. He kept chopping off his head till his austerity pleased Lord Shiva. Lord Shiva thus blessed Ravana with ten heads and Ravana became one of the greatest and the most powerful king. The ten heads of Ravana are symbolic of the six shashtras and four Vedas that he mastered.
6. The Story of Mandodari And Sita Mata
It is a well-known fact that Sita mata was the daughter of King Janaka. But, according to one of the references in Adbhuta Ramayana, Mandodari was the mother of Sita mata. It is believed that Ravana would store the blood of all the saints killed by him in a large pot. One of sages Gritsamada stored milk obtained from Darbha grass in a pot for practising penance and to have Goddess Lakshmi as his daughter. Ravana got hold of the milk pot by sneaking into Gritsamada’s house and poured the milk into his own pot. Queen Mandodari got so offended by this evil act of Ravana that in order to commit suicide she drank the contents of the pot stored by Ravana. After drinking from Ravana’s pot, queen Mandodari did not die, rather she became pregnant with Sita. After Sita’s birth, one of the incarnations of Goddess Lakshmi, Mandodari left the baby in Kurukshetra and that is how King Janaka found Sita.
7. The Story of Hanuman’s Birth
This is an interesting Ramayana story for children that talks about the birth of Hanuman. Once king Dashrath was performing a Yagna in order to have children and Anjana was also worshipping Lord Shiva to beget a son, at the same time. God of Fire gave prasad to King Dashrath that had to be shared amongst his three wives. Due to a divine intervention, an eagle snatched some prasad and the deity of wind, Lord Vayu transported some of the prasad into Anjana’s hands, which she ate. Soon after this Hanuman was born to Anjana.
8. The Story of the Incarnation of Lord Rama’s Brother
Lord Rama is the incarnation of Lord Vishnu and it is believed that his brothers Bharat and Shatrughan are the incarnations of the Sudarshan chakra, Lord Vishnu’s weapon, and Sheshnag, his seat in Vaikunth. Laxman was the incarnation of Balram.
9. The Story of Shurpanakha
Shurpanakha was Ravana’s sister, and it is believed that she was the stimulus of the battle between Lord Rama and Ravana. There are different versions of the stories of how Shurpanakha was the reason behind the battle, but according to Valmiki’s version, Shurpanakha approached Lord Rama to ask for marriage, but he refused her proposal of marriage. She then turned to Laxman. Laxman too refused her proposal and baffled she decided to harm Sita mata. On Lord Rama’s order, Laxman chopped off Shurpankha’s nose. Insulted and disheartened she went to her brother Ravana who abducted Sita mata in order to seek revenge from Lord Rama and Laxman.
10. The Story of the Death of Lord Rama
Lord Rama once deceived Hanuman when it was time for him to die. This was because Hanuman would not let Yama claim Lord Rama’s soul and thus it was impossible for Lord Rama to die. To distract Hanuman, Lord Rama threw his ring in a crack and asked Hanuman to get it. Hanuman got himself into the size of a beetle and jumped into the crack which led him to Naag Lok (where serpents reside). He asked the King Vasuki of Nag Lok for the ring, who guided him towards the pile of rings, all of which belonged to Lord Rama. Hanuman was aghast seeing all this, to which Vasuki informed him that he was tricked by Lord Rama.
11. The Story Of Ravan’s Soul
It is believed that before going for battle with Lord Rama, Ravana deposited his soul with a hermit called Fire-Eye. The hermit was supposed to guard Ravana’s soul and keep it safe till he came back for it. During the battle, Lord Rama was surprised to see that none of his arrows that struck Ravana could harm him. The secret about Ravana’s soul was known to one of Lord Rama’s allies, who transformed himself into Ravana and went to the hermit asking to return his soul. As soon the soul was set free, Lord Rama killed the demon King Ravana.
12. The Story Of Laxman’s Sleep
Laxman wanted to protect Lord Rama and Sita mata in the period of exile and for that, he wanted to be devoid of sleep. In order to defeat sleep Laxman approached Nidra, the Goddess of Sleep and asked her to take back his sleep for fourteen years. The Goddess agreed by saying that someone else would have to sleep on his behalf for fourteen years. Laxman went to his wife Urmila and asked her if she would take his sleep, to which she agreed. Urmila slept for 14 years and thus helped Laxman to help Lord Rama.
13. The Story Of Hanuman’s Death Sentence By Lord Rama
Once on being instigated by Narada, Hanuman unknowingly insulted Vishwamitra. This happened when Hanuman greeted all the sages in Lord Rama’s court but didn’t greet Vishwamitra because he wasn’t a saint by birth. Vishwamitra felt offended and ordered Lord Rama to issue a death sentence for Hanuman. The death sentence was executed but none of the arrows or even Brahmastra could harm Hanuman. This happened because Hanuman kept chanting Lord Rama’s name all the while.
14. The Story Of Kumbhakaran’s Sleep
Lord Brahma once asked all the three brothers Ravana, Vibhishana, and Kumbhakaran for a wish. Being well aware of Kumbhakaran’s wit and valour, Indra requested Goddess Saraswati to tie his tongue, because of which Kumbhakaran asked for the wish of eternal sleep. Ravana could not see his brother’s plight and thus pleaded to Lord Brahma to take back his brother’s wish. Lord Brahma could not undo the entire wish but he said that Kumbhakaran would sleep for half a year and will stay awake for the other half. During the battle with Lord Rama, Kumbhakaran was asleep and many attempts were made to wake him up.
15. The Story Of Lord Rama’s Victory
Ravana had organised a Yagna towards the end of the battle for his victory. The condition for the success of the Yagna was that Ravana could not leave the Yagna in between. When Lord Rama learnt about this Yagna, he sent Angad along with a group of monkeys to distract Ravana, but all the efforts went into vain. Finally, Angad dragged Ravana’s wife Mandodari by her hair in front of him. Mandodari kept pleading Ravana for help, but it did not move him. It was when Mandodari taunted Ravana by taking Lord Rama and Sita mata’s example that Ravana got up from the Yagna and was defeated and killed in the battle.
There are great values and lessons in these short stories from Ramayana. These stories are not only entertaining for your kid but also help your child learn about the various reasons that led to the battle between Lord Rama and Ravana. Indian mythology is full of interesting stories; you can also tell Krishna stories to your kids.