Dussehra 2017: This Story of Lord Rama Eating Half-Eaten Fruits Will Melt Your Heart

Days before Dussehra (Dasara) 2017 celebrations, lavish Ram Leelas also take place, especially across North India. A most-lovedepisode is that of Shabari feeding Ram and Laxman her half-eaten jujube(ber) fruit.

Sushmita Sengupta  |  Updated: September 30, 2017 15:04 IST

Dussehra 2017: This Story of Lord Rama Eating Half-Eaten Fruits Will Melt Your Heart
  • Dussehra marks Lord Rama's victory over the 10-headed demon king Ravana.
  • Each day Ramlila narrates certain stories from The Ramayana.
  • The story of Shabri is an example of devotion, faith & spirit of service.
Dussehra is just around the corner. This year, Dussehra would be celebrated on 30th September 2017, Saturday. Dussehra marks Lord Rama’s victory over the 10-headed demon king Ravana, who took his wife Sita as hostage to his palace in Lanka. To mark this triumph of good over evil, people burn effigies of Ravana, and that of Kumbhakarana (Ravana’s brother) and Meghanad (Ravana’s son) who played his close aides in the battle. Days before Dussehra celebrations, lavish Ram Leelas also take place, especially across North India. Each day narrates certain stories from The Ramayana in front of audiences have come from near and far. A most-loved episode is that of Shabari feeding Ram and Laxman her half-eaten jujube (ber) fruit.  The story is an exemplar of devotion, faith and spirit of service.
shabriDasara - Shabari feed Lord Ram and Laxman her half-eaten jujube fruit.

Shabari belonged to a hunter’s family, and grew up seeing her family kill animals for food. Averse to the idea of killing or even harming animals, Shabari resisted non vegetarian food, and eventually even left her family and paternal home to go away from them to seek higher and noble virtues in life.  She wandered in the forest on foot for days and found the hermitage of Sage Mathanga in hope of seeking something to eat. The kind Sage not only gave her food, but recognising her noble pursuit, gave her a place in his ashram and asked her to join the service of the community. 

Shabari took up the tasks of cleaning and housekeeping at the ashram most willingly.  She was greatly devoted to Sage Mathanga and rendered a selfless service to him and his ashram members for years. In his ailing years, when Sage Mathanga was about to depart to his heavenly abode, he blessed Shabari and told her that her good deeds and penance shall help her seek darshan of Lord Rama, the seventh avatar of Lord Vishnu. The Sage told her that Lord Rama would make his way through the forest in search of Goddess Sita, and that Shabari would get the chance to host him in her own little way.

ramayanDussehra - Shabri waited for years to seek blessings from Lord Rama.

Shabari waited for years for the blessed moment. And the prophecy came true, when Lord Rama and Laxmana set out in search for Sita who had been kidnapped by the demon king Ravana, and encountered the old and frail Shabari. It is said that Lord Rama knew of this prophesied meeting, and took to the ashram of Sage Matanga to fulfil it. When they entered the hermitage, they found Shabari who was waiting for all these years to meet Lord Rama and seek his divine blessings. Shabari quickly gathered some wild fruits for Rama, which she offered him with great devotion. To check which ones were sweet and which were still unripe, she bit into the jujube or ber fruits first and then offered them to Lord Rama. 


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When Laxmana felt that the offering was slightly peculiar for Lord Rama, an exiled prince of Ayodhya, Rama told him to observe the innocent and pure devotion of the old lady and not her modes. Shabari then directed Lord Rama towards Hunuman and Sugreev who would later become his aides in his battle against Ravana. Her devotion pleased the Lord who granted her liberation before leaving the place.


This Dussehra as you remember Lord Rama and his victory over the evil king Ravana, do remember it isn’t the scale of devotion but the spirit of it that makes all the difference.

Happy Dussehra 2017!

About Sushmita SenguptaSharing a strong penchant for food, Sushmita loves all things good, cheesy and greasy. Her other favourite pastime activities other than discussing food includes, reading, watching movies and binge-watching TV shows.

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