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I read a story on a forum which is as follows:

Rama needed a bridge to be built across the ocean to reach Lanka, in order to defeat Ravana. The night before they started their preparations, he decided to conduct a Yagna to worship Shiva at Rameshwaram. As he was going to fight one of his most powerful adversaries, he needed the most scholarly priest to conduct the Yagna for him. He was informed that Ravana himself is the most learned scholar of all times. An invitation was sent to Ravana, who accepted it, arrived at Rameshwaram and conducted a Yagna with all holy rites.

Interestingly, the Yagna could be considered successfully completed only when Rama would sit with his wife Sita in the ceremony, who was held captive by Ravana in Lanka. Ravana not only brought Sita to the Yagna, he presided over the proper arrangements and completion of the Yagna.

After the Yagna got over, Rama sought Ravana's blessings in defeating him, to which Ravana replied, Tathastu.

I have never came across this story and believe that this should not be in Valmiki's Ramayana. I wanted to check whether this story is authentic or not and which scripture contains this story.

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    Yeah, it's definitely not in the Valmiki Ramayana. And I highly doubt that it happened. – Keshav Srinivasan Nov 27 '14 at 9:49
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    The incident is not found in Kamba Ramayana (tamil ramayana) written in 8-9th century nor in Ramacharitamanas, also. The ideal base for Ramayana is Valmiki Ramayana followed by Kamba Ramayana. The remaining ramayanas contains lot of fantacies added the respective authors to leave their own stamp on the story... – user808 Nov 27 '14 at 11:54
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    e.g. i saw a the strange story like Ram and Lakshmana approched Ravana for knowledge when Ravana was dying on a web site of devdutt patnaik who writes so many things but never provided the proof from where this story is picked up...There are too many folk lores based on Ramayana..These are mere folk lores and have no base in Puranas also..All these are not true. Valmiki Ramayana and Kamba Ramayana are the best in the class. – user808 Nov 27 '14 at 11:54
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    @Krishna Well, in addition to the Valmiki Ramayana there is also the version of the Ramayana found in the Padma Purana, and the Adhyatma Ramayana found in the Brahmanda Ramayana. But yeah, I agree with you that a lot of supposed stories concerning Rama are fake. – Keshav Srinivasan Nov 27 '14 at 16:46
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    this is a part of ramcharitra manas by goswami tulsi dasji – user3998 Oct 23 '15 at 7:37
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Here is a Q&A where Sri Sri Ravi Shankar talks about this story mentioned in the Adhyatma Ramayana:

"...Lord Rama wanted to do be victorious in battle against Ravana, and for that He wanted to establish a Shivalinga and worship it. Now to do this, a priest was needed, but in those days there were no priests found in Rameshwaram. So Lord Rama was in dire need of a good priest to perform the rituals.

Ravana was a staunch devotee of Lord Shiva and was also a Brahmin by birth. So Ravana’s brother Vibhishana (who was on Lord Rama’s side), told Lord Rama that Ravana was very well-versed in the rituals. So Lord Rama sent an invitation to Ravana to come and preside as the priest for the pooja at Rameshwaram.

Ravana accepted the invitation and came. But then he told Lord Rama that the pooja would be incomplete without his wife being present. No pooja or yagna can be performed without the wife’s presence. So he told Lord Rama, ‘Since you are a married man, both you and your wife have to sit together for the pooja, otherwise you cannot perform the pooja’.

Then Lord Rama said to him, ‘It is the duty of the priest to provide an alternative for anything that is missing. Since my wife is not with me (having been kept in captivity by Ravana at that time), please tell me what the alternative for this problem is. Can we keep a doll in her place as a substitute?’

Then Ravana said, ‘I do not believe in alternative. I would want everything to be present for the worship of Lord Shiva. So I will call your wife here for the pooja. After the pooja, please send her back to Lanka’.

So Ravana brings Sita for the pooja. After the pooja, when Lord Rama and Sita bow down to touch the feet of the priest, that is, Ravana, to take blessings, then Ravana blesses Lord Rama by saying ‘Vijayi bhavaha’ (May victory be yours!). He had no choice but to do so.

When someone touches the feet of a priest, he is left with no choice but to bless that person. So Ravana had to give that blessing to Lord Rama for which He had organized the pooja. He also blessed Sita by saying ‘Sumangali bhavaha’ (May you receive all that is best and auspicious always!) Such was Ravana’s magnanimity. After blessing both of them, Ravana took Sita back to Lanka with him.

This is a very exciting story. We always perceive Ravana as a villain, but even Ravana had many good qualities in him. This is why when Ravana was counting his last breaths and was at his death bed on the battlefield, Lord Rama told Lakshmana to go and touch the feet of Ravana and receive knowledge from him as he lay dying on the battlefield. Lord Rama said, ‘If I go to him (Ravana) then he will leave his body and his soul will merge into Me. So before that happens, go and learn all that you can from him’.

Do you know, there is a Gita by the name Ravana? It is called Ravana Gita.

Of the five Gitas that are present, it is one of them. Just like you have the Srimad Bhagavad Gita, Ashtavakra Gita, Udhhava Gita, and Guru Gita; there is another Gita called Ravana Gita (the song of Ravana). In it, Ravana teaches many sermons to Lakshmana..."

You can read the full article here: http://www.artofliving.org/wisdom-q-a-15-may-2013-qa-2

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There are 300 versions of Ramayana and in one of those, there has been a mention of Ram seeking Ravana's help to perform a Shiva Yagna. This incident happened in the holy town of Rameshwaram (Where Lord Ram met Shiva (Ishwar)).

Some details about the temple.. http://www.ishtadevata.com/arulmigu-ramanathaswamy-temple.html

Ravana was known to be a renowned priest who was well versed in vedas and puranas. In addition to this, he was a brahmin as well which made him the most qualified to perform the Yagna. Ram invited him to which he accepted. One of the conditions of the Yagna required the presence of Sita by Ram's side while the proceedings took place. Aware of this, Ravana promptly brought along sita for the Yagna.

Source: http://www.ishtadevata.com/blog/ravan-prayed-ram-sita.html

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