Rama, Sita, and Lakshmana came to the ashram of rishi Sharabhanga deep in the forest.
"Hear my story," the old man said to them. "The god Indra invited me to ascend to Nandana-Vana, the heavenly pleasure-garden, but instead I stayed here. I wanted to gaze upon Rama with my own eyes." Sharabhanga then looked at Rama and smiled. "I have grown old here, waiting. Now I can depart."
Sharabhanga told the exiles where they should go next on their journey, and then he entered the fire.
From the flames, a young Sharabhanga emerged, and he rose to heaven at last.
Inspired by: Sita: An Illustrated Retelling of the Ramayana by Devdutt Pattanaik
Notes: This story is on p. 108 of the book. In Valmiki's Ramayana, this is the Aranya Kanda (Book 3), sarga 5.
This shows the exiles at the ashram of sage Bharadwaja:
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