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While the story of Rama worshipping Shiva has been subjected to immense controversy in South India for centuries, there has been a similar debate in Bengal (where I have been born and brought up) among Hindus on the story of Rama worshipping Devi Ambika.

As many of you must be knowing, Durga Puja is considered the biggest festival in Bengali culture. It begins with the occasion of Mahalaya (actually Puja doesn't begin on this day) where it is said Devi Durga who vanquishes Mahisasura. Incidentally, Bengalis also believe that on this day, Sri Rama worshipped Devi Durga to ask for her blessings for the war against Ravana. According to the story, Sri Rama collected a total of 108 flowers and Devi Durga to test his devotion, hid one of the flowers. The humble Sri Rama then is about to take one of His eyes and offer it as the 108th flower resulting in Devi Durga appearing in front of Him and blessing Him.

Now, I want to know whether this story of Rama is a simply a folklore in our culture (no offense to my fellow Bengalis) because this story is neither present in the Valmiki Ramayana nor the Ramcharitmanas. So my question is whether this story of Rama worshipping Ambika has any scriptural reference or is simply a Bengali folklore? Do any scriptures mention this story?

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    Do any scriptures mention the story?--For this Q scripture is the tag and not that tag called identification request... That should be used only for Qs where someone asking "Who is the God in this image? kind of Qs.. – Rickross Mar 21 '18 at 5:08
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    Read the excerpt. That is not only for image identification. That is also for story identification and verse identification. – Sarvabhouma Mar 21 '18 at 6:49
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    @SuryaKantaBoseChowdhury Don't use identification request tag for this question. Identification request can be best used only for image identification. – The Destroyer Mar 21 '18 at 12:43
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    @TheDestroyer There is community consensus on using id tag for verse, story identification. That's why I wrote the wiki. Users have used it on many questions for story. It is only a group of users who insist on scripture tag for these type of questions. They are partial towards scripture tag and said other tags are useless. We should not be partial towards a tag on site. It is fine to use id for identifying stories when they don't know stories from exact book. Like they know the story is from Mahabharata or from Purana but don't know exact source. Then it can be used. – Sarvabhouma Mar 21 '18 at 16:59
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    Its a good question wondering why it had a downvote! – Dr. Vineet Aggarwal Jan 18 at 11:09
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That Sri Rama worshipped Supreme Goddess is mentioned in Lalita Trishati Stotram found in the Brahmanda Purana:

Lakaararthaa Latha Poojya Laya Sthithudbhaveswari
Lasya Darshana Santhushta Labhaalaabha Vivarjitha
Langhyetharaagjnaa Lavanya Shalini Laghu Siddhida
LaakshaarasaSavarnaabha Lakshmanagraja Poojitha
Labhyetara Labdha Bhakthi Sulabha Langalaayudhaa
Lagna Chaamara Hastha Shri Sharada Parivijitha
Lajjaapada Samaraadhya Lampata Lakuleshwari
Labdha Maanaa Labdha Rasaa Labdha Sampath Samunnatih ||


You are esteemed and worshipped by the womanhood of chastity; the Supreme of the Universe in all the stages of Birth, Growth and Destruction alike; witnessing the joyous dance of women gives you immense pleasure; You are far above the considerations of profits and losses; Mother, your instructions are always carried out and never questioned and indeed none whosoever dared to ask you questions! You are matchless in elegance and poise; you give away Siddhis with least devotion and reverence; you shower kindness with minimal efforts like melting gold is sealed in wax; Lord Shri Rama the incarnation of Vishnu performed regular pujaas to you to bestow the capacity to uproot Adharma; you save persons regardless of their deeds and fruits; you are very easily won over with selfless devotion; some times you carry plough as a weapon like Adi Sesha to punish the vicious; Lakshmi and Sharada serve you with Chaamara as a hand fan; you make exceptions to Principles of your own making some times to save situations; Devi! Several Groups of persons from varied backgrounds are unanimous in their unity in devotion to you albeit in the methodologies of their worship; you are venerated by one and all as you are the Finality of Happiness and Prosperity.

Lakshmanaagraja pujita--- One who is worshipped by Lakshmana's elder brother referring to Sri Rama.

But, the full details of the story of Akala Bodhana (or the untimely invocation of Goddess) is found in the Kalika Purana (which is one of the 18 Upa-puranas).

I have read that in the introduction of the Text itself.

UPDATE:

More details of Sri Rama worshipping the Mother Goddess is found in the Devi Bhagavatam as well.

From the Purana's 3rd book's 28th chapter:

  1. Janamejaya said :-- O Muni! How did Râmchandra celebrate the Devî’s Pûjâ, that leads to happiness? Who was He! And how was stolen away His Sîtâ? How was He deprived of His kingdom? Please satisfy me by narrating all these incidents to me.

In the 29th and 30th chapters, the details are found.

It was Narada who described the methods of worshipping the Goddess to Sri Rama in the 29th chapter:

  1. O Descendant of Raghu! I am now telling how that Râvana can be killed. Perform, in this very month of Âs’vin, the vow with devotion.
  2. Fasting for nine nights, the worship of the Bhagavatî, and repeating the Mantram silently and performing the Homa ceremony, observing all the rules, will certainly fulfill one’s all the desires.
  3. O the best in the race of Raghu! You should offer the sacrifice before the Goddess of a sacred and unblameable animal, perform Japam and Homa ceremony equivalent to onetenth of Japam. If you do all this, you will certainly be able to release Sîtâ.
  4. In days of yore, Visnu, S’iva and Brahmâ and the Devas in the Heavens all performed this worship of the Goddess.

  5. Therefore, O Râghava! Every person desiring happiness, specially those that have fallen under great difficulties, ought to do this auspicious ceremony, without the least hesitation. 23-24. O Kâkutstha! Vis’vamitra, Bhrigu, Vas’istha and Kas’yapa all of them did this worship before. When some stole away the wife of Brihaspatî, the Guru of the Devas, he, too, by the force of this worship, got his wife back. Therefore O king! dost thou also celebrate the Pûjâ for the destruction of Râvana.

  6. Râma replied :-- “O Ocean of Knowledge! Who is that Devî? What is Her influence; whence has She sprung? What is Her Name? And how is that vow to be duly observed? Kindly describe all these to me in detail.”

  7. Nârada answered :-- “Listen, O Râghava! That Goddess is Eternal and Ever Constant Primordial Force. If you worship Her, all your difficulties will be removed and all your desires will be fulfilled.
  8. She is the source of Brahmâ, Visnu and others and of all these living beings. Without Her force, no body would be able even to move their limbs.

  9. Râma said :-- “O best of the Munis! Describe briefly all the rules and regulations as to how that vow and worship are to be performed. With my heart, full of devotion and faith, I will worship the Goddess today.

And, finally Sri Rama worshipped Mother Goddess and appeased her:

41-42. Vyâsa said :-- Then the powerful Bhagavân Hari, hearing all from the Muni, believed them to be true; and, on the approach of the month of Âs’vin, prepared the altar on the top of a hill and placed the Auspicious Goddess, the World Mother and, observing all the rules, performed the vow and worshipped the Goddess. 43. Fasting for nine days, Râma celebrated the vow and duly offered sacrifices, performed the worship and Homa ceremonies. 44-46. When, on the grand night of the Eighth lunar day, the two brothers completed the vow as told by Nârada, the Supreme Bhagavatî was pleased with the worship and appeared before them, mounted on a lion, and remaining there on the mountain top, addressed Râma and Laksmana, in a sweet grave tone, like the rumbling of a rain cloud, thus :-- “Râma, I am satisfied with your worship; ask from me what you desire. 47. Râma! You are sent by the gods for the destruction of Râvana and are born as a part incarnate of Nârâyana, in the pure and stainless family of Manu.

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    Nice answer. BTW i think this could possibly also support the belief of Dussehra being the day when Shri Rama killed Ravan. – Dr. Vineet Aggarwal Jan 18 at 11:11
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    The very mantra of the bodhana of Durga puja means: O Devi! Lord Brahmaa arosed you in inappropriate time to grace Sri Rama for killing Ravana. >ऐं रावणस्य वधार्थाय रामस्यानुग्रहाय च । >अकाले ब्रह्मणा बोधो देव्यास्त्वयि कृतः पुरा – commonman Jan 18 at 11:23
  • @Dr.VineetAggarwal Thanks and yes u are right .. – Rickross Jan 18 at 11:48
  • @ParthaBanerjee Yes I read ur answer .. welcome to the site – Rickross Jan 18 at 11:48
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The very mantra of the bodhana of Durga puja means: O Devi! Lord Brahmaa arosed you in inappropriate time to grace Sri Rama for killing Ravana.

ऐं रावणस्य वधार्थाय रामस्यानुग्रहाय च । अकाले ब्रह्मणा बोधो देव्यास्त्वयि कृतः पुरा

Om aim ravanasya vadharthaya ramasyanugrahaya cha | Akale brahmamana vodhah devyastvayi kritah pura||

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    Some of the spellings are wrong that's why I hv edited .. also i gave the transliteration.. So it's better to keep my edit ... also it is customary to use the blockquote (yellow quote) whn u are quoting something that's not ur own text/words. – Rickross Jan 17 at 13:01
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    Spelling mistakes are there in your answer & transliteration is needed because not everyone can read other language Hindi or sanskrit. Kindly go through the site regulations! – Akshay S Jan 17 at 13:44
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The above lines of ऐं रावणस्य वधार्थाय रामस्यानुग्रहाय च । अकाले ब्रह्मणा बोधो देव्यास्त्वयि कृतः पुरा are cited by Hemadri (13th century CE) in the Vrata KaaNDa of the Chaturvarga Chintamani Vol.2, Part 1, pdf page: 943 under Navaratri vrata.

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protected by Surya Kanta Bose Chowdhury Mar 29 '18 at 21:16

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