The Balakanda begins with the ascetic Valmiki questioning the famous sage Narada if there is any man who is truly virtuous. Narada replies that there is such a man, and that his name is Rama. He then goes on to briefly describe Rama's physical characteristics and to briefly summarize the story of the Ramayana. (Sarga 1) Next, the book describes how Valmiki wrote the Ramayana and taught it to Lava and Kusha (Sargas 2, 3 and 4) who soon enough launch into the full story:
- The glorious Dasharatha, king of the equally glorious Ayodhya, can conceive a son with neither his three principle wives Kaushalya, Kaikeyi or Sumitra nor his 350 secondary wives. His minister Vasishta advises him of a solution: ask the sage Rishyasringa to perform a son-getting ceremony. (Sargas 6, 7, 8, and 9)
- The king gets Rishysringa (Sarga 11) who performs the ceremony. The ceremony goes off very gloriously and well. (Sargas 12,13, and 14)
- Meanwhile, the gods are having a problem. The Rakshasa (demon) known as Ravana was causing a huge problem because, due to a boon he had received from Brahma, he was invincible to gods, celestial snakes, and devils. The gods ask Narayana (Vishnu) what to do and he decides to incarnate himself on earth as a man- when Ravana had asked for his boon, the foolish demon had forgotten to mention protection from men. Vishnu thereupon incarnates himself as celestial porridge and has himself handed by to Dasharatha by a red colored being who appeared out of Rishysringa's sacrificial fire. The being (usually taken to be Agni, the god of Fire) tells Dasharatha to give the porridge to his wives. Dasharatha gives the porridge to his three queens (his three main wives), and they give birth to four sons between the three of them: Queen Kaushalya gives birth to baby Rama, Queen Kaikeyi gives birth to baby Bharata, and Queen Sumitra gives birth to twins: baby Shatrughna and baby Lakshmana. The book details the miraculous birth of Rama and his brothers Lakshmana, Bharata and Shatrughna, their early life in Ayodhya and education with Rishi Vasishtha. Also included are Rama's slaying of the demoness Tataka of the forest, his slaying of the demon Subahu and his hordes who defile the yajnas of Vishvamitra, his deliverance of Ahalya and his wedding with Sita.
Some selected Bala Kanda Chapters (Sarga)
- Some of the chapters from Bala Kanda containing geographical and historical information are given here for study and analysis
- Bala Kanda Sarga 6 - People of Ayodhya
- Bala Kanda Sarga 7 - Ministers of King Dasaratha
- Bala Kanda Sarga 17 - Birth of Vanaras
- Bala Kanda Sarga 22 - Rama and Lakshmana follow the sage
- Bala Kanda Sarga 23 - The hermitage of Kaama
- Bala Kanda Sarga 24 - Tataka
- Bala Kanda Sarga 25 - Story of Tataka
- Bala Kanda Sarga 26 - Slaying of Tataka
- Bala Kanda Sarga 27 - Astras and Shastras, the Heavenly weapons
- Bala Kanda Sarga 28 - Bestowal of weapons to Sri Rama
- Bala Kanda Sarga 29 - Narration of Vaamana
- Bala Kanda Sarga 30 - Destroying the Rakshasas
- Bala Kanda Sarga 36 - Legend of Uma and her curse
- Bala Kanda Sarga 37 - Legend of Kartikeya
- Bala Kanda Sarga 70 - Ikshvaaku's lineage detailed.
- Bala Kanda Sarga 71 - Janaka's lineage detailed.
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