Ramayan has been a great inspiration to Hindu Dharma. Every Hindu is aware of the story of Maryada Purshottam defeating Ravana who abducted Sita but only a handful of them know how Rama left the earth and How he tricked Hanuman before his return to Vaikuntha.
As we all know that Rama was a Vishnu mortal avatar and it was necessary for him to leave the earth once the purpose was fulfilled. All Avatars appear to restore Dharma and then they return to Vaikunta. Disappearance of Sri Ram from earth happened when he entered voluntarily into the Sarayu River. This divine event is described as the death of Lord Rama. The story of the disappearance of Sri Ram is mentioned in many Hindu scriptures.Even though Rama was ready to leave and was asking Yama to take him, Yama could not enter Ayodhya as he feared Hanuman.
Hanuman is the Avatar of Shiva who was sent to earth to protect Rama. Hence, it was not possible for Hanuman to take Rama when Hanuman was near him. To distract Hanuman, Rama throws a ring into the crack on the ground and asked Hanuman to fetch it. Hanuman reduced himself to the size of a fly and entered the crack only to discover that it was no crack but the entrance to a tunnel that led to Nag Lok, the land of serpents. Hanuman met Vasuki, the king of serpents there and informed him of his mission.
King Vasuki took Hanuman to the centre of Nag Lok where there was a mountain of rings. Vasuki asked Hanuman to find Rama’s ring here. Hanuman wondered as to how he would find Rama’s ring in this huge pile. But to his delight the first ring he picked was Rama’s ring. Infact all the rings were identical, leaving Hanuman puzzled.
Vasuki then explained that the world we live in goes through cycles of life and death. Each life cycle of the world is called a kalpa. Each kalpa has four yugas or quarters. In the second quarter or Treta Yuga, Rama takes birth in Ayodhya. Then one day his ring falls into the subterranean realm of serpents through a tunnel. A monkey follows it and Rama on earth dies. So it has been for hundreds of thousands of kalpas. All these rings testify to that fact.
He also said that the mountain keeps growing as more rings fall. There is enough space for the rings of future Ramas. Now, Hanuman realised that his entry into Nag Lok and his encounter with the mountain of rings was no accident. It was Rama’s way of telling him that he could not stop death from coming. Rama would die. The world would die. But like all things, Rama would be reborn each time the world is reborn.
This view of life is the essence of Indic thought. But the period of colonial rule and later political developments led to twist in our understanding of the Ramayana.It is clearly explained that Rama is timeless and universal but people keep fighting over the dates and addresses of Lord Rama and try to locate him in the history and geography.