Rama Leaves Chitrakoot

Now that Bharat had returned to Ayodhya and taken charge of the kingdom under Rama's name and blessings, Rama started feeling restless and weighed down with a profound sadness caused by the departure of the brother he loved so dearly and by the death of his father. He therefore decided to move on from Chitrakoot, to the hermitage of Sage Atri. 

When they reached the hermitage of Sage Atri, the sage welcomed them warmly. He then made them meet his wife, Anasuya, a deeply devout woman. Apparently, many years ago, when a drought had burnt the earth and life around the forest was about to perish, Anasuya, with her deep devotion, caused the Ganga to change course and flow through the forest, thus bringing an end to the drought. 

Sita found in Anasuya a wise friend and advisor. Sita spoke about the Swayamvara ceremony and her love for Rama, and Anasuya spoke to her about chastity and duties of a wife. Anasuya then presented Sita with celestial gifts which included attire that would never get soiled or dirty. 

A while later, Rama, Lakshman and Sita took leave of Sage Atri and Anasuya, and continued onward with their journey. Before long they were assaulted by the demon Viradh, who attempted to kidnap Sita. However the demon was no match for Rama and Lakshman, who soon vanquished him. 

They then reached the hermitage of Sage Sarbhang. The Sages would often renounce their lives after they reached a certain stage of fulfillment. Sage Sarbhang too wished to leave for the heavenly abode, but when he heard that Rama would be passing by, the Sage decided to wait until he met Rama. He was thus greatly moved by Rama's presence, and stated that he would like to leave this world in the presence of Rama. Sage Sarbhang then sat on a funeral pyre, lit it with the help of his yogic powers, and was soon engulfed by the flames. 

As they carried on with their journey, they continued making the acquaintances of various sadhus and ascetics who had been dwelling in the forest, and who would often accompany them for a short distance. Soon they reached a place, which, to Rama's dismay, had heaps of human bones scattered for miles to see. This sight greatly upset the three of them, and Rama asked the sages what this meant. They sages replied that these were the bones of sadhus who would perform yagyas here. These yagyas greatly displeased the demons, who would attack the sadhus and kill them. This news angered Rama, and he vowed that he would not leave this place until he had eliminated all the demons. However Rama knew that he would need help in order to kill the demons, as he would not be able to do so on his own. He decided to seek out Sage Agastya to help him in his conquest. 

When Sage Agastya heard that Rama had come to meet him, he was very happy. Rama and Agastya greeted each other very warmly. Rama then told Agastya that he wished to kill the demons, and would need Agastya to tell him how to go about it.