One day while Lord Rama, Goddess Sita and Lakshman were in the Dandaka forest, Goddess Sita saw a golden deer. She was enchanted on seeing its beauty and pleaded her husband to catch it for her.
Lord Rama instructed his younger brother Lakshman to protect Goddess Sita till the time he wouldn’t return. Lakshman bowed down and stayed in the cottage while Lord Rama chased the deer.
The deer was Maricha, a companion of Ravana who had transmuted into a deer. As soon as Lord Rama pierced his dagger inside the deer, the demon changed his voice to that of Lord Rama and cried out in pain.
Goddess Sita on hearing her husband’s cry ordered Lakshman to search for him and save him from the mouth of danger but as per his elder brother’s instructions, Lakshman refused to go.
Upon being repeatedly ordered by Goddess Sita, he drew a line around the cottage (known as the Lakshman-Rekha) and asked her not to step out of it. Saying this, he went off to search for his elder brother.
Upon reaching the place where he heard Lord Rama’s cries he was astonished to see that the deer was a demon and he had deceived him by making false cries in the voice of Lord Rama.
While Lord Rama and Lakshman rushed back to their cottage, the demon king Ravana had already played up his card.
Being a demon himself he transmuted into a sage and went towards the cottage where goddess Sita was weeping for her husband.
He called her out for giving him alms.
Goddess Sita wiped off her tears, took the basked full of fruits and went out of the cottage. As soon as she left the cottage, she suddenly remembered that she shall not cross Lakshman Rekha under any circumstances.
Ravana in the form a sage repeatedly called her out but she didn’t come. At last after losing his patience, he said that if she wouldn’t come out of the cottage, he would curse her husband with death.
Listening to this, she came out of the cottage and approached Ravana. As soon as she stepped out of the Lakshman-Rekha, the demon king played his trick and she fainted.
He then pulled her over the pushpak vimana(Ravana’s aircraft) and carried her away to Lanka.
While on the way Ravana encountered Jatayu (youngest son of Aruna) and had a fight with him. Jatayu fought valiantly but since he was very old, Ravana slashed him and he fell on the ground.
Upon reaching the cottage, Rama and Lakshman searched for Sita but couldn’t find her.
After searching for a while they saw Jatayu who was lying on the forest-bed mutilated. He told Lord Rama that he tried his best to save Goddess Sita from the hands of that demon but couldn’t.
Lord Rama rested his head on his lap and hugged him.
Before taking his last breath, Jatayu told that Ravana had carried his wife to the south and thus started Lord Rama’s epic journey of rescuing his wife and ending the reign of the demon king, Ravana forever.