Reading Guide. After Lakshmana is taken by the gods into heaven, Rama decides that the time has come for him to depart this world likewise, becoming Vishnu again.
Image: In the illustration, you will see Rama speaking with the god Brahma. This is a detailed view of a large illustration; you can see the full view here: Mewar Ramayana.
Source. Myths of the Hindus and Buddhists by Sister Nivedita (1914). [500 words]
At length there came to Rama's palace the mighty yogi Time, and Rama honored him. He named himself Time, begotten by Narayana on Maya, and he reminded Rama of his godly self and all that he had achieved in Heaven and on earth. "O Lord of the World," he said, "thou wast born on earth for the destruction of the Ten-Necked rakshasa, and thou didst undertake to dwell on earth for eleven thousand years. Now that time is ripe and the grandsire sendeth me to tell thee: now wilt thou reign yet longer over men, or wilt thou return to the lordship of the gods?" Then Rama praised the yogi and said he had spoken truth, and for himself he would return to his own place.
But already Lakshmana had left his home and gone to the banks of Sarayu to practice great austerities, and there the gods rained flowers upon him, and Indra lifted him from the earth and returned to his own city, so that all the gods, seeing the fourth part of Vishnu come back to them, were gladdened and began to worship him. Then Rama would follow the same path.
Hearing that Rama was going away, the monkeys, born of the gods, went to Ayodhya and beheld him; and Sugriva said, "I have set Angada upon the throne of Kishkindha, and I will follow thee."
Then Rama granted the desire of all the monkeys to follow him, but to Hanuman he said, "It is determined already that thou shalt live for ever: do thou be glad on earth so long as the tale of me endures."
To Jambavan and some others Rama appointed life till the end of the Kali age, and other bears and monkeys he gave leave to follow him. To Vibhishana he gave good counsel regarding government, and ever to worship Jagannatha, Lord of the World. The next day Vashishtha prepared all due rites for those who go to the other world, and all men following Rama and the brahmins set out for Sarayu.
When they came to Sarayu, Brahma, the grandsire, came thither with the godly folk and a hundred thousand goodly cars, and the wind of Heaven blew and flowers rained down from Heaven upon earth. Then Brahma said to Rama, "Hail, O Vishnu! Do thou, with thy brothers, enter in again in whatsoever form thou wilt, who art the refuge of all creatures, and beyond the range of thought or speech, unknown of any save thy Maya."
Then Vishnu entered Heaven in his own form, with his brothers, and all the gods bowed down to him and rejoiced. Thus did all beings there assembled, entering the waters of Sarayu, attain to the heavenly state, and Brahma and the gods returned to their own abode.
Thus ends Ramayana, revered by Brahma and made by Valmlki.