Adapted by Hindu Mythology by Matt Clayton
Vishnu, preserver of the world, and Brahma, world-creator, are introduced in the Creation Story. Their counterpart, Shiva the Destroyer, who makes way for new life, also emerges from a pillar of flame. We then meet Ravana, a scholar who became obsessed with living forever, to the point that he became insane and decided to conquer the universe. He convinces Brahma to grant him protection from being killed by any supernatural being. In order to circumvent this, Vishnu decides to be reborn for the fifth time as Prince Rama of Ayodhya. When it becomes time for him to be chosen as heir, however, his father is convinced to name one of his brothers instead. Rama and his wife, Princess Sita, are then forced to live in exile in the forest for fourteen years. They are joined there by Rama's brother, Prince Lakeshman, who is their faithful companion. Ravana hears of this and sends Maricha, a demon lieutenant, to help him trick and capture Sita. Rama's many friends, including the Bear King Jambavantha and the Monkey god Hanuman, join him in the search for her. Hanuman at last finds Sita at Ravana's stronghold of Lanka. Thought he fails to free her, he sets Ravana's city on fire and brings the glad news to Rama that Sita still lives. With the aid of Ravana's daughter, the mermaid Princess Suvannamaccha, Rama's army builds a bridge to Lanka and an epic battle ensues. At first, the battle does not go well for Rama, who is struck down along with many allies, but Hanuman brings an entire mountaintop full of healing flowers to the battlefield, which revives everyone. Finally, Ravana becomes so enraged he engages Rama personally, riding on his fiery chariot. He seems invincible against Rama's arrows until Hanuman remembers that Ravana must be struck in the navel. Rama succeeds in striking down Ravana, saving the world. He is reunited with Sita, and together they return to Ayodhya, their way lit by lamps that are the inspiration for the Hindu festival of Diwali. There the happy couple rules wisely and well for my years.