By Giriraj Swami

Lord Ramacandra was the eldest son of Maharaja Dasaratha, and He was loved by all of the citizens in the state. According to the Vedic system, when one reaches a certain age he retires from worldly duties and responsibilities and devotes himself fully to God consciousness, or Krsna consciousness. Maharaja Dasaratha wanted to retire as king and install his son, Ramacandra, as his successor. But on the eve of Rama’s coronation, because of some past events, Maharaja Dasaratha was obliged to ask Him to go into the forest in exile, to fulfill a promise that the king had made. And Lord Ramacandra, as the ideal son, immediately accepted His father’s order without hesitation or lamentation. Still, everyone in the kingdom loved Rama so much that they wanted to accompany Him into the forest, but Lord Rama replied, “No, if you all come into the forest with me, what will happen to the kingdom? You all must remain in Ayodhya.” Rama’s brother Laksmana, however, was so attached to Him that he couldn’t bear being separated from the Lord, and the Lord agreed that he could come with Him. Similarly, the Lord’s wife, Sita, wanted to follow her husband into the forest and serve Him in His difficult position, and Lord Rama agreed for her to accompany Him. Then, while they were in the forest, a very powerful demon, Ravana, kidnapped Sita and abducted her to his kingdom called Lanka.