Rama, the eldest son of Dasaratha and Queen Kausalya was to be crowned as the King of Ayodhya.
However, Dasaratha had a wife Kaikeyi, who was his favourite queen. Kaikeyi wanted her son Bharatha to rule the kingdom instead of Rama. So she had Rama banished to the Dandaka vana [a very dangerous forest] for fourteen years and had Bharatha crowned as the king of Ayodhya.
When Rama was exiled to the forest, his wife Sita and brother Lakshmana insisted on accompanying him to the Dandaka Vana.
There in the forest a demon called Surpanakha was attracted towards Rama. She asked Rama to marry her. However Rama refused to so and directed her towards Lakshmana. Lakshmana also refused to marry her.
However Surpanakha realized that Rama had refused to marry her because of Sita and tried attacking Sita. Lakshmana in a fit of anger cut off Surpanakha's nose and ears.
Disfigured, Surpanakha vowed to take revenge on the brothers and went to her brother Ravana, the Demon King of Lanka.
Hearing about Sita's beauty, Ravana decided to abduct her and make her his wife. Accordingly Ravana abducted Sita.
However Sita refused to even look at any other man other than her Rama.
Subsequently Rama with the help of the Vanara king Sugriva and his army built a bridge to Lanka. He killed Ravana and freed Sita.
In order to prove the chastity of his wife, Rama had his wife take the 'Agni Pariksha'. [Test by fire]
The fire would not even burn Sita because of her purity. Rama then brought his wife and brother back to Ayodhya as the exile period was over.
Unfortunately the people of Ayodhya did not like Rama bringing back Sita to Ayodhya, because she had lived with another man.
Rama deciding that his first duty was towards his subjects, banished Sita from the palace.
After banishing Sita, who went on to live in the ashrama of Sage Valmiki, Rama was unhappy and lost. He stopped attending court and could not concentrate on his work.
Lakshmana tried to bring his brother back to his old self. Rama slowly came back to himself.
As they were talking, Rama explained to Lakhsmana, 'I have not been doing my duties as a king, Lakshmana. For a king that is the worst crime you can commit. If as a king you do not regularly check the work done by your servants, you may end up like King Nriga.'
Lakshmana looked curiously at Rama, 'Who is King Nriga, Rama?'
Rama smiled, 'He is our ancestor. He is the son of Ikshvaku.' Lakshman looked surprised at Ram. Ram, Lakshman and all of them belonged to the Solar dynasty. It was also called Ikshvaku clan.
'What did he do?' Lakshmana looked at Rama. All of the kings of their clan had been illustrious and loved by their people. It was almost rare for any king to make any grievous errors...
'King Nriga was one of the best kings of our clans. He was a good and just king. He protected his subjects well and they in turn adored him.' Lakshmana nodded as Ram continued. 'Do you know that at one time, he actually gave a million cows away as charity, during a yagna?'
Lakshmana looked in wonder as Rama continued. 'Unfortunately for him, because of the carelessness of his servants, one of the cows he gave away in charity wandered back into the royal stables.'
Lakshmana looked keenly as Rama continued, 'The man to whom the cow was presented searched everywhere for the cow and started tracing the footprints of his cow. He came nearer and nearer the royal stables...Nriga did not check the work of his servants and inadvertently presented the same cow to another man. The second man was walking the cow back home, when the first man came an claimed the cow as his own. The two men fought with each other and the dispute came to the king to be settled.'
Rama smiled absently, 'The king was horrified when he realized what he had done. He pleaded with the two men. He said that he would give them a hundred cows each and asked them to forget the issue. However the two men looked at the king contemptuously and cursed him to become a lizard. Neither of them even looked at the cow anymore....'
'What happened to the king?' Lakshmana asked Rama looking interested.
'The king realizing that he had to pay the price of his carelessness, crowned his son Vasu as the king. He asked his son to built a cave in a well and asked to be put there, once he had become a lizard...'
Rama smiled, 'Lakshmana! The king could be freed from the curse, when an Avatar of Narayana touched him...' Lakshmana knew that Rama was an avatar of Lord Vishnu. He looked at Rama and said faintly, 'An avatar of Narayana?'
Rama absently nodded his head, 'An avatar of Narayana, born in the clan of Yadu and at the time when both Nara and Narayana incarnated on earth...' Lakshmana looked amused at Rama and said pointedly,'You do not belong to the Yadu clan...'
Rama smiled at Lakshmana and said softly, 'No, Rama does not belong to the Yadu clan...King Nriga still waits for the man to come....'
Samba his brothers and friends were playing in the garden. They were thirsty from the continuous playing. They found a well but unfortunately there was no water in the well.
As Samba looked inside the well, he opened his eyes wide, 'Look at that! Oh my God! I have never seen such a huge lizard...'The others looked at it. There sitting on the wall of the well was one of the largest lizards they had ever seen. The kids tried to bring the lizard out, but no matter what they did, the lizard remained out of their reach.
Really surprised, they ran to their father. Breathless they said,'Father! You have to come and see this....It is unbelievable....'
Their father looked amused at the kids and went with them. There the kids showed the lizard to him. The father easily put his hands inside the well and pulled out the lizard.
The kids were astounded as the lizard disappeared the minute their father's hand fell on it. A luminous being appeared there and saluted the children's father. 'You have released me from a curse, I have had for a long time...Thank you my Lord!
'Who are you?' The father asked still looking amused.
The king shook his head. 'You talk as if you do not know...But because you have asked me, I will tell you...My name is Nriga and I am the son of Ikshvaku....' The king told the father and children all about his story and after bowing to the father once more, he vanished from there.
The children were looking spell bound at each other, thinking about the story.... Talking, the children then went back to their playing....
Realizing that his work here was done and that his sons had gone back to playing, Krishna, the dark Lord of Dwaraka, walked back into the palace feeling happy....