The brothers Rama and Khena (Lakshmana) were twins in their mother’s womb. But even before they could come out, they sensed the danger waiting for them in the world outside. A demoness had heard about their impending arrival and was standing guard near their mother to eat them the moment they were born. The brothers having got wind of her evil plans decided to trick her. And instead of coming out through the usual birth canal, they came out of their mother’s feet.

When they grew up, one day they were in the forest hunting for barking deer and they heard a pair of bulbuls tell them that the gods were in great danger. The brothers decided to help them out and so they went to heaven and resolved the problem to the great joy of all parties. This won the two the lasting affection of the gods.

However soon thereafter, the two brothers were back in their homes by then, they ran into some serious trouble. They were on a hunting expedition for barking deer, when accidentally, they shot a god’s daughter. For a crime so heinous, the twins were taken captive and sentenced to a life of servitude. They were asked to live in the home of the god whose daughter had died and serve at his beck and call.

The god had another beautiful daughter named Sita. She was kept in a locked iron box and the god had announced that anyone who could lift the box, would win her hand in marriage. Rama tried and very easily lifted the box. The numerous gods who had come to claim their rights over Sita were aghast but they could not do anything. And so Rama walked away with the iron box with Sita and soon the two were wed.

Coming soon: Rama and Khena and the seven headed Lusariha

Story collected by: Arundhuti Dasgupta

Location: Mizoram

Source: The Rama story in Mizo tradition by Lalruanga and Birendranath Dutta; Rama katha in tribal and folk traditions in India