Kusha
Kusa, one of Rāma’s sons..jpg
Kusha, one of the twin sons of Rama and Sita.
Devanagariकुश
TextsRamayana and its other versions
Personal information
Born
Parents
SiblingsLava (brother)
ConsortKumudvatī
ChildrenAtithi (son)
Kanakamalika (daughter; married to Mahabhoja a Yadava king)
DynastyRaghuvansh-Suryavansh

Kusha or Kusa or Kush (Sanskrit: कुश) and his twin brother Lava were the children of Rama and Sita. Their story is recounted in the Hindu epic, Ramayana and its other versions. Hindu traditions claim he ruled the entire region of Kashmir, Indus River and Hindu Kush as frontier lands of India known as Hindu Kush Kshetra and founded the city of Kashmir in the valley and Kasur,[1] though local lore contends Kasur was founded in 1525 by Pashtun migrants.[2][3][4] His brother Lava is traditionally believed to have founded Lavapuri (present-day city of Lahore).

Birth and childhood

Valmiki trains Lava Kusha in Art of Archery
Valmiki trains Lava Kusha in Art of Archery
The Sage Valmiki, teaching Ramayana to Kusa and Lava
The Sage Valmiki, teaching Ramayana to Kusa and Lava

The first chapter of Ramayana, Balakanda mentioned Valmiki narrating the Ramayana to his disciples, Lava and Kusha. But their birth and childhood is mentioned in the last chapter Uttara Kanda which is not believed to be the original work of Valmiki.[5][6] According to the legend, a pregnant queen Sita leaves the kingdom of Ayodhya when she learns that Ram was suspicious when he heard a washerman of Ayodhya questioning Sita's fidelity. She then took refuge in the ashram of the sage Valmiki located on the banks of the Tamsa River.[7] Sita gave birth to twin sons, Lava, and Kusha, at the ashram. They were educated and trained in military skills under the tutelage of Sage Valmiki and also learned the story of Rama.

Ashwamedha Yagya

During an Ashvamedha Yagya held by Rama, the sage Valmiki, along with Lava and Kusha, attended with Sita in disguise.

Lava and Kusha chanted the Ramayana in the presence of Rama and a vast audience. When Lava and Kusha recited about Sita's exile, Rama became grief-stricken and Valmiki produced Sita. Sita, struck with embarrassment and grief, called upon the earth, her mother (Bhūmi), to receive her and as the ground opened, she vanished into it. Rama then learned that Lava and Kusha were his children.[8]

In some versions, Lava and Kusha capture the horse of the sacrifice and defeat Rama's brothers and their army and when Rama came to fight with them, Maharishi Valmiki intervened and then Sita discloses to their sons that their father is Lord Rama and Valmiki told the children that through a song they have to recite the story of holy Ramayana to the people of Ayodhya that how Sita sacrifices even Gold Lanka (Ravana Mahal) to wash away the spoilt image of Sita from Ayodhya people.

Later history

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Lava and Kusha became rulers after their father Rama. They founded the cities of Lavapuri (currently identified as modern day Lahore) and Kusasthali (currently identified as modern day Titilagarh), respectively.[9]

Cantos sixteen to nineteen of the Ānanda Rāmāyaṇa describe the exploits of Rama's progeny. The manifestation of a Goddess appears before Kusha, declaring to be the Tutelary deity of the ancient capital of Ayodhya. She described the condition of the deserted city, which had been abandoned and ruined since the departure of King Ram. Kusha sets forth with his whole army to restore the city to its former splendor.

Canto sixteen describes Kushas marriage with the Naga Queen Kumudvatī. While residing in Ayodhya in the summer, Kusha goes to the Sarayu to bathe with the ladies of the court. While sporting in the river, he loses a great gem bestowed to him by his father. In anger, Kusha threatens to shoot an arrow into the river, whereupon the river parted revealing Kumudvatī.

Canto seventeen describes the final years of Kusha. Kusha and Kumudvati have a son named Atithi, who becomes heir to the kingdom. Kusha engages in a battle with a demon and gives his life in the process of slaying his adversary. Cantos eighteen and nineteen describe the 21 Kings that succeeded Atithi.

Kushavati was a city in Kosala Kingdom as related in the epic Ramayana. The king of Kosala, Rama, installed his son Lava at Sravasti and Kusha at Kushavati.

References

  1. ^ Nadiem, Ihsan N (2005). Kasur ancient name. Punjab, Pg.111. ISBN 9789695034347.
  2. ^ Chopra, Gulshan Lall (1940). Chiefs and Families of Note in the Punjab. Government Printing.
  3. ^ Sikand, Yoginder (19 July 2011). Beyond The Border: An Indian in Pakistan. Penguin UK. ISBN 9789352141326.
  4. ^ Nadiem, Ihsan H. (2005). Punjab: land, history, people. al-Faisal Nashran. ISBN 9789695032831.
  5. ^ "Uttara site=BooksFact - Ancient Knowledge & Wisdom". 26 April 2020. ((cite web)): Missing or empty |url= (help)
  6. ^ Rao, T. S. Sha ma; Litent (1 January 2014). Lava Kusha. Litent.
  7. ^ Vishvanath Limaye (1984). Historic Rama of Valmiki. Gyan Ganga Prakashan.
  8. ^ Rao, T. S. Sha ma; Litent (1 January 2014). Lava Kusha. Litent.
  9. ^ Nadiem, Ihsan H. (2005). Punjab: Land, History, People. Al-Faisal Nashran. ISBN 978-969-503-434-7.