Ayodhya Kand 1 - Dasharatha plans Shriram’s coronation
Deepak M R is a professional writer and trainer. He has a rich work experience of more than 25 years in varies fields that include training, education, and consulting.
He is author of the novel Abhimanyu - the warrior prince (Bloomsbury, 2021). He is also once of the contributing authors in the anthologies Unsung Valour and Aryaa and has written Kindle eBook Mahabharata Tales: Justice for Draupadi and other stories.
Once Bharata, along with Shatrughna had gone to the home of his maternal uncle Yudhajit and was staying there for a long time. Rama remained in Ayodhya. His father Dasharatha looked at his eldest son and observed all his virtues.
Rama was a hero, full of valour. Even though he was mighty, he had no envy towards others and did not react even if anyone spoke harshly. He was peaceful by nature and never nurtured hatred for others. Anger was totally under his control and he had complete self-control. He was merciful towards the meek and kind-natured.
He was physically handsome and strong. Rama was a scholar and had good memory. Full of humility and devotion, he respected the elderly. He was thoroughly knowledgeable about the sciences, economics, fine arts, and was a master of archery. Even demons and Gods were scared to battle with him.
He was as wise as the divine sage Brihaspathi and as strong as Indra, the King of the Celestials. Liked by common people, he was the ideal person to rule the kingdom. Dasharatha was eager to make Rama the King during his lifetime. He summoned other kings and ministers to discuss this issue.
But he did not call the maternal uncle of Bharata or King Janaka. The assembled persons welcomed Dasharatha’s decision and were fulsome in praise for Rama. Terming Rama as equal to Vishnu, they all welcomed the decision to make Rama the next ruler of Ayodhya.
Having taken his preceptor Vasishta’s permission, Dasharatha sent Sumantra to bring Rama. Dasharatha then informed Rama of his decision and told him that he had delighted the citizens of Ayodhya with all his qualities. He advised his son to be even more humble and keep the people happy always. When Kausalya came to know of this, she was happy and gave away gold, jewels, and cattle to her friends.
Dasharatha summoned Rama and told him he would be coronated as the crown prince the next day. The King told his son that he saw omens that filled him with fear and hence he wanted to install Rama on the throne immediately. He also told Rama that even though Bharata followed dharma, there was a possibility he could act impetuously. So, this was the right time for Rama’s coronation as crown prince.
Rama then took the blessings of Kausalya and Sumitra. As per his father’s instructions, he along with Sita fasted and observed the prescribed rites. The people of Ayodhya were delighted with the king’s decision and celebrated on the city’s streets.
Meanwhile, Queen Kaikeyi’s maid Manthara came to know of the king’s decision and hurried to meet the queen. Seeing Kaikeyi lying down Manthara called her foolish and warned her that she would be drowned in calamity. She then poisoned Kaikeyi’s mind by pointing out how Dasharatha was crowning Rama when Bharata was away.
But Kaikeyi smiled and said she saw no difference between Rama and Bharata. She even happily offered a boon to Manthara. The angry Manthara continued to spew venom against Rama. She told Kaikeyi that Rama was fond of Lakshmana and would protect him. But he would destroy Bharata.
Manthara’s words finally found their mark. Kaikeyi was angry and planned to send Rama to the forest so Bharata could become king. Manthara then reminded Kaikeyi of an incident from the past. Dasharatha had fought a war with the Asura Sambhara on behalf of Indra. During that war king had been rendered unconscious.
Kaikeyi, who had accompanied the king had saved him at that time. That was when Dasharatha had promised two boons. Manthara advised Kaikeyi to seek the two boons, the first to make Bharata king, and the second to send Rama to exile for 14 years.
… to be continued