In the famous serial Ramayana that aired on DoorDarshan, I saw Lord Rama saying he knew that Ravana was going to come. Then he asked Lord Agni to safeguard Sita and create an illusionary Sita. Is this story true?
Before he took the avatar, Vishnu knew that he was going to fight and destroy Ravana. The Ramayana begins by talking about the fearsome Ravana, after which...
Then Vishṇu, God of Gods, the Lord
Supreme by all the worlds adored,
To Brahmá and the suppliants spake:
“Dismiss your fear: for your dear sake
In battle will I smite him dead, The cruel fiend, the Immortal's dread.
And lords and ministers and all
His kith and kin with him shall fall.
Then, in the world of mortal men,
Ten thousand years and hundreds ten
I as a human king will reign,
And guard the earth as my domain.”
But after Vishnu had taken the avatar, Rama was unaware of Ravana's coming.
When Surpanakha attempts to seduce Rama, she mentions her brother, so the brothers at least know that he exists:
Named Śúrpaṇakhá here I stray, And where I walk spread wild dismay. King Rávaṇ is my brother: fame Has taught perchance his dreaded name.
When Maricha takes the form of a deer to draw Rama away from Sita, Lakshmana has some suspicion:
“Stay, for the wondrous deer we see
The fiend Márícha's self may be.
But Rama is excited to have an opportunity to please his wife and he ignores his brother's warning, though he does tell Lakshmana to be careful. If Rama had known that Ravana was coming, he wouldn't have left Sita.
Do thou and Sítá watch with care Lest danger seize you unaware.
But the story of Rama asking Agni to protect Sita is not present in the Valmiki Ramayana.
Ramayana serial is primarily based on Valmiki's Ramayan and Tulsidas' Ramcharitmanas (ref).
This story (safeguarding Sita in Agni and keeping an illusionary Sita) is true as per Tulsidas' Ramcharitmanas: Aranya Kaanda:
इहाँ राम जसि जुगुति बनाई। सुनहु उमा सो कथा सुहाई।।
लछिमन गए बनहिं जब लेन मूल फल कंद।
जनकसुता सन बोले बिहसि कृपा सुख बृंद।। 23।।
सुनहु प्रिया ब्रत रुचिर सुसीला। मैं कछु करबि ललित नरलीला।।
तुम्ह पावक महुँ करहु निवासा। जौ लगि करौं निसाचर नासा।।
जबहिं राम सब कहा बखानी। प्रभु पद धरि हियँ अनल समानी।।
निज प्रतिबिंब राखि तहँ सीता। तैसइ सील रुप सुबिनीता।।
लछिमनहूँ यह मरमु न जाना। जो कछु चरित रचा भगवाना।।
[Lord Shiva said] Now, hear, Uma, the delectable account of the device that Sri Rama employed.
When Laksmana had gone to the woods to gather roots, fruits and bulbs, Sri Rama, the very encarnation of compassion and joy, spoke with a smile to Janaka’s Daughter:—
Listen, my darling, who have been staunch in the holy vow of fidelity to me and are so virtuous in conduct: I am going to act a lovely human part. Abide in fire until I have completed the destruction of the demons.” No sooner had Sri Rama told Her everything in detail than She impressed the image of the Lord’s feet on Her heart and entered into the fire, leaving with Him only of a shadow of Hers, though precisely of the same appearance and the same amiable and gentle disposition. Laksmana too did not know the secret of what the Lord had done behind the curtain. ~English translation from Gitapress
Valmik's Ramayana and Tulsidas' Ramcharitmanas differ in few stories but both of them are believed to be true due to kalpa bheda:
Lord Råma has bodied Himself forth in diverse ways and that the Råmåyana, though consisting of a thousand million verses, is yet infinite. Great sages have diversely sung the charming stories of Lord Hari, relating as they do to different Kalpas or cycles. ~ Ramcharitmanas 1.33
Ramcharitmanas briefly describe stories from the three kalpas and in detail of one kalpa:
- When Ravana was an incarnation of Lord Vishnu's gatekeeper Jaya
- When Ravana was an incarnation of Asura Jalandhar
- When Ravana was an incarnation of Lord Shiva's gana
- When Ravana was an incarnation of king Pratapbhanu (this is in detail)
For more details on Kalpa-Bheda, see
Maya Sita or the illusionary Sita is a concept from Tulsidas Ramcharitmanas, Devi Bhagwad, Skand Puran, etc. It has no mention in Valmiki Ramayana. It refers to the creation of shadow Sita by Agni Dev who got abducted instead of the real Sita sometimes equating the illusionary one with Vedvati.
As per Valmiki Ramayan. No, he wasn't aware of this. He was Shree Hari himself but he lived his life like a human.
Note-Raavan had a boon that only Humans can kill him. So Shree Ram lived his life like a human.
"Thus, on getting boon from the Forefather Brahma he has become arrogant and torturing the three worlds, and he is even abducting women. As such, oh, enemy destroyer Vishnu, his elimination is envisaged through humans alone." So said gods to Vishnu.
Source: Valmiki Ramayana Bala Kanda Sarga 16