start page
THE POET, VALMIKI, TEACHING THE RAMAYANA TO KUSA AND LAVA Kangra school; late eighteenth century Unfinished painting on paper. P. C. Manuk collection

In the seventh book of the Ramayana it is related that Rama, suspicious of the faithfulness of Sita during the time of her abduction to Lanka by the evil Ravana, sent her away from him into the forest; there she was succoured by the ascetic Valmiki. In his hermitage she bore twin sons, Kusa and Lava, who were brought up by him and trained to recite the great epic which he had composed in honour of the hero Rama. It was first sung by them, and made known to the world, on the occasion of Rama performing the horse-sacrifice, a ceremony only to be celebrated by a great King. He was charmed by their voices and their identity as his sons was discovered.
This seventh book was a later edition to the original Ramayana of Valmiki, who was the father of Sanskrit poetry in the same way as Homer, a thousand years before, was of Greek.
The Kangra painters who lived in this remote Hill state had a deep feeling for the natural world as revealing itself to man.