The Raghuvamsa sings of the great solar race of Iksvaku in which Visnu was pleased to become
incarnate as Rama, that he might destroy the demon Ravana and free the gods and men from his tyranny. This supremacy he had won through the favour of Brahman whom he had won over by his austerities. When, therefore, his yoke had become too hard to bear, when the gods themselves were enslaved or banished, they went to Visnu and sought his help. This the God readily agreed to do by becoming incarnate as Rama, DasarathaÍs son; for the overweening demon, when he prayed to Brahman to be made invulnerable, had omitted to secure himself against mere human foes.
This story of the Ramayana forms the central theme of our poem. The first nine cantos trace the fortunes of RamaÍs four immediate predecessors, cantos X to XV the story of Rama himself, his wonderful birth, his noble youth and manhood, his marriage with Sita, the latterÍs abduction by Ravana, RamaÍs victory over Ravana and his happy reign, and the touching narrative of the bandon- ment of Sita upto the very end as we have it in the Ramayana; and cantos XVI to XIX carry on the
tale of the kings who came after Rama to a sad decline in Agnivarna, "a worthless libertine whose excesses had the merit of hastening his death." His widowed queen who was pregnant ascends the throne as regent in behalf of her unborn son, and the poem as we have it abruptly ends on this note of hope.
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