The Hindu Epic Ramayana is divided into seven kandas (books) which deals with the major events in the life of Lord Rama. Ramayana was written by Sage Valmiki and is written in a 32-syllable meter called “Anustubh”.
Ramayana is divided into seven kandas:-
1) Bala Kanda
2) Ayodhya Kanda
3) Aranya Kanda
4) Kishkindha Kanda
5) Sundara Kanda
6) Yuddha Kanda
7) Uttara Kanda
The Bala kanda begins with the ascetic Valmiki questioning the famous sage Narada if there is any man who is truly virtuous. Narada replies that there is such a man, and that his name is Rama. He then goes on to briefly describe Rama’s physical characteristics and to briefly summarize the story of the Ramayana. Next, the book describes how Valmiki wrote the Ramayana and taught it to Lava and Kusha who soon enough launch into the full story.
After Rama and Sita have been married for twelve years, an elderly Dasharatha expresses his desire to crown Rama, to which the Kosala assembly and his subjects express their support. On the eve of the great event, Kaikeyi-her jealousy aroused by Manthara, a wicked maidservant-claims two boons that Dasharatha had long ago granted her. Kaikeyi demands Rama to be exiled into wilderness for fourteen years, while the succession passes to her son Bharata. The heartbroken king, constrained by his rigid devotion to his given word, accedes to Kaikeyi’s demands. Rama accepts his father’s reluctant decree with absolute submission and calm self-control which characterises him throughout the story. He is joined by Sita and Lakshmana.
Rama, Sita, and Lakshmana journey southward along the banks of river Godavari, where they build cottages and live off the land. At the Panchavati forest they are visited by a rakshasa woman, Surpanakha, the sister of Ravana. She attempts to seduce the brothers and, failing in this, attempts to kill Sita. Lakshmana stops her by cutting off her nose and ears. Hearing of this, her demon brother, Khara, organises an attack against the princes. Rama annihilates Khara and his demons.
The kishkindha kanda is set in the monkey citadel Kishkindha. Rama and Lakshmana meet Hanuman, the greatest of monkey heroes and an adherent of Sugriva, the banished pretender to the throne of kishkindha. Rama befriends Sugriva and helps him by killing his elder brother Vali thus regaining the kingdom of Kiskindha, in exchange for helping Rama to recover Sita. However Sugriva soon forgets his promise and spends his time in debauchery. The clever monkey queen Tara, second wife of Sugriva (initially wife of Vali), calmly intervenes to prevent an enraged Lakshmana from destroying the monkey citadel. She then eloquently convinces Sugriva to honour his pledge. Sugriva then sends search parties to the four corners of the earth, only to return without success from north, east and west. The southern search party under the leadership of Angad and Hanuman learns from a vulture named Sampati, Who is the elder brother of Jatayu, that Sita was taken to Lanka.
The sundara kanda forms the heart of Valmiki’s Ramayana and consists of a detailed, vivid account of Hanuman’s adventures. After learning about Sita, Hanuman assumes a gargantuan form and makes a colossal leap across the ocean to Lanka. Here, Hanuman explores the demon’s city and spies on Ravana. He locates Sita in ashoka grove, who is wooed and threatened by Ravana and his rakshasis to marry Ravana. He reassures her, giving Rama’s signet ring as a sign of good faith. He offers to carry Sita back to Rama, however she refuses, reluctant to allow herself to be touched by a male other than her husband. She says that Rama himself must come and avenge the insult of her abduction.
Yudha Kanda also known as Lanka kanda, this book describes the battle between the army of Rama, constructed with the help of Sugriva, and Ravana. Having received Hanuman’s report on Sita, Rama and Lakshmana proceed with their allies towards the shore of the southern sea. There they are joined by Ravana’s renegade brother Vibhishana. The monkeys named Nala and Nila construct a floating bridge (known as Rama Setu) across the ocean, and the princes and their army cross over to Lanka. A lengthy battle ensues and Rama kills Ravana. Rama then installs Vibhishana on the throne of Lanka.
Uttara Kanda is the last episode of the great epic Ramayana and it deals with the return of Rama to Ayodhya and his coronation to the throne. The reign of Rama in Ayodhya has also been narrated in this episode along with the second ordeal of Sita. This Kanda or episode also gives a description of the birth of Lav and Kush, the two sons of Rama in the hermitage of Valmiki and the episode ends with the description of the last days of Rama in the world.