Bala Kanda is about childhood and birth of Dasharath son’s and Sita. Bala Kanda is also about the marriage of Dasharath sons.
Ram Birth In Bala Kanda
Dasharath was the king of Kosala, the capital was Ayodhya city having three wives – Kausalya (eldest wife. She was the daughter of the King of Kosala Kingdom), Kaikeyi (second wife. Kaikeyī belonged ruling family of the Kekaya clan), Sumitra (third wife. She came from the ancient kingdom of Kashi.) but no children. The thought of his dynasty ending with him saddened King Dasharath and he was very eager to have a son who would take care of the throne of Ayodhya.
King Dasharath visited the royal family’s Guru, Vasistha and narrated his problem. Vasistha comforted King Dashrath by telling him that he would have four sons. With King Dasharath’s consent, Guru Vasistha summoned Rishi Shringi to perform the Putra-Kam yagna (sacrificial fire for the birth of sons). The gods present him with a bowl of divine nectar. As the three queens sat to eat their share of the prasadam, a eagle snatched Sumitra’s share. To console Sumitra, Kaikeyi and Kausalya gave half of their share each to Sumitra.. Sumitra got one bite from Kausalya’s plate and one from Kaikeyi’s and thus gave birth to twins. With Kausalya and Kaikeyi each bearing one son i.e. Ram was born to Kausalya, Bharata was born to Kaikeyi, and Sumitra gave birth to twins i.e. Lakshman and Shatrughan
( Ram portrayed as the seventh avatar of the God Vishnu who had opted to be born into mortality in order to combat the demon Ravan, who was oppressing the Gods, and who could only be destroyed by a mortal. while Bharata and Shatrughna are his disc and conch-shell, Lakshman is portrayed as an avatar of the Shesha, the nag associated with the God Vishnu.)
Tulsidas stated that the birth of Ram and his brothers took place on the ninth day of the Chaitra month. It was the fortnight of the moon, known as the shukla period.
Rishi Viswamitra trained the Princes in Bala Kanda
Rishi (Sage) Viswamitra trained the Princes ( sons of King Dasharath ) in the art of firing missile-arrows imbibed with secret chants that could cause the arrows to shower fire or water on its enemies, and even follow them through the seven worlds until they’re killed.
When Ram was16 years old, Rishi Viswamitra visited to the court of King Dasharath where the King received his eminent guest with great honour. Rishi Viswamitra lived in the forest and was performing great sacrifices. However, the rakshas (Rakshas) Mericha and Subahu were disturbing sacrificial rites. He knew that Ram had taken birth on earth to protect his devotees and so he decided to visit King Dashrath to ask him for favour. The Rishi asked the king to send his sons to the forest with him. Reluctantly the king agreed.
Rishi Vishwamtra took the two princes, Ram and Lakshman, to his ashram, as he needed Ram’s help in slaying several Rakshas that had been harassing him and several other Rishis living in the area.
Ram encountered his first problem-female rakshasi (demoness) Tadaka, Tadaka, a cursed yaksha demoness. When asked to slay the rakshasi, Ram considered it sinful to kill a woman. Rishi Vishwamitra explained that evil had no gender. The killing of Tadaka liberates the yaksha soul who was cursed for a sin, and had to adopt a rakshasi’s body.
Rishi Viswamitra presented Ram and Lakshman with several astras and sastras (divine weapons) that would be of use to them in the future. Ram and Lakshman were taught the advanced military arts and given the knowledge of all the weapons and their uses
Rishi Vishwamtra told Ram and Lakshman that soon, he along with some of his disciples, would perform a yagna for seven days and nights that would be of great benefit to the world, and the two princes must keep close watch for the two sons of Tadaka Mericha and Subahu, who would try to defile the yagna at all costs. The princes therefore kept a strong vigil for all of the days, and on the seventh day they spot Mericha and Subahu coming with a whole host of rakshas ready to pour bones and blood into the fire. Ram pointed his bow at the two, and with one arrow killed Subahu, and with the other arrow killed Mericha. Lakshman dealt with the rest of the rakshas The yagna was completed successfully
Sita Birth in Bala Kanda
One day, a female child was found in a furrow in a ploughed field, and for that reason is regarded as a daughter of Bhumi, the goddess of the Earth. She was found and adopted by Janaka, king of Mithila and his wife Sunayana. Overwhelmed with joy, the king regarded the child as a “miraculous gift of God”. The King brought her to his Palace and brought her up as his daughter. She was named “Janaki” and Narda called her “Sita”.
In her childhood, Sita while playing with her sisters had unknowingly moved the table over which the “Shiv Dhanush” (divine bow of Lord Shiv gifted to King Janak by Rishi Parashuram for safe-keeping., presented to Rishi Parashuram by the God Shiv) had been placed. This incident was noticed by King Janak and he decided to make this incident as the backdrop for swayamvar.
Sita Svayamvar (Ram Sita Marriage) In Bala Kanda
Ram, while going to Mithila for Sita Svayamvar along with Rishi Viswamitra and Laksman, stopped at the, then-uninhabited, hermitage of Rishi Gautam. Vishwamtr narrated Ahalya’s story to Ram, and asked him to free her.
(Ahalya, the wife of Rishi Gautam, was a beautiful woman. Indra, king of the Gods, was tempted and decided to seduce her with trickery. He asked the moon to become a cock and crow early, fooling Rishi Gautam into thinking the dawn had arrived and causing him to go down to the nearby Ganges for his usual morning bath. While the Rishi was bathing at the river, Indra assumed Gautam’s form and visited Ahalya, fooling her into thinking he was her husband. When Gautam returned, he encountered Indra, emerging from his hut in his (Gautam’s) form. Spiritually powerful, Gautam employed his divine vision to see the whole episode. Enraged, he cursed Indra with impotence and cursed the moon, which had an unblemished look until then, to have spots. Rishi Gautam, in a blind rage, also cursed his wife, Ahalya, to turn into a boulder. Innocent of any intentional wrongdoing, Ahalya begged for forgiveness. Gautam relented somewhat and said that when Ram was incarnated, he would bless her and break her curse.)
Ram touched the boulder with his foot and Ahalya was immediately released from the curse. She fell to Ram’s feet and washed his feet with her tears. She felt that her curse had become her fortune as she got the opportunity to seek Ram’s refuge in person. She then returned to her husband’s place.
Ram, Lakshman and Rishi Viswamitra ventured on a journey and reached the beautiful capital of the Videhad, Mithila. The king of Mithila, Janak, welcomed the great Rishi and enquired about Ram and Lakshman ,who were accompanying him. Janak was overcome by great emotions he was able to sense the true nature of the brothers. The brothers then set out to discover the beautiful city and visited Janak’s garden. It was the first meeting of Ram and Sita took place. Sita had fallen for Ram and prayed to Devi Gauri that she helped her to attain Ram as her husband
King Janak had arranged a swayamvar ceremony to select a husband for his daughter Sita.. King Janak sent a messenger to invite Ram, Laksman and Rishi Viswamitra to attend the swayamvar. which included a contest.
King Janak announced that whoever after lifting the bow (Shiv Dhanush) from its place, string and shoot an arrow with it could be married to Sita. Many princes tried and failed to lift the mammoth bow. Ram stepped up and effortlessly lifted, stringed and broke the divine bow. Sita approached Ram and placed a wreath around his neck. Janak sent messengers to Ayodhya from where a marriage procession, consisting of Ram’s family, friends and well wishers departed for Mithila.
Dasharath Son’s Marriage In Bala Kanda
After the swayamvar, Ram, Sita and the entire royal family began their journey back, Rishi Parashuram confronted with them. He was the sixth Avatara of Vishnu, and found it unbelievable that anybody could break the bow of Shiva. He had brought Lord Vishnu’s bow and challenged Ram to string the bow and fight a duel with him. Ram respectfully bowed to Rishi Parashuram, and within a twinkling of an eyelid snatched the bow of Vishnu, stringed it, placed an arrow and pointed it straight at the challenger’s heart. Ram asked Rishi Parashuram what he would give as a target to the arrow in return for his life? At this point, Rishi Parashuram realised that Ram is Vishnu incarnate, his successor. He accepted Ram’s superiority, devoted his tapasya to Ram and promised to return to his hermitage and leave the world of men.
(Lakshman married to younger sister of Sita named Urmila. Bharat was married to Mandavi. Shatrughna married to Shrutakirti.)
Valmiki Ramayana is divided in following Kanda’s :
• Bala Kanda – Childhood – Birth and training of the Princes and marriage of the Princes
• Ayodhya Kanda – Ayodhya – Preparations for Ram’s coronation as a prince, coronation and his exile into the forest. Raja Dasharath died due to grief.
• Aranya Kanda –Forest – Forest life of Ram, visit to the Rishis, Ram received celestial weapons from Rishi Agastya. Kidnapping of Sita by Ravan.
• Kishkindha Kanda –Kishkindha – Meeting of Hanuman with Ram, Sugriv killed Bali with the help of Ram. Sugriv was crowned as the king of Kishkindha search of Sita.
• Sundara Kanda – Auspiciousness – Hanuman’s journey to Lanka and his meeting with Sita, sets fire to Lanka.
• Yuddha Kanda – War – Battle between Ram and Ravan. Both used Astras charged with Mantra, Sita was rescued from Ravan. Sita’s honour was tested in the fire
• Uttara Kanda –Afterword – Ram’s life after returning to Ayodhya and Sita’s exile, the birth of Luv and Kusha to Sita, their coronation to the throne of Ayodhya,.