Ayodhya Kand 3 - Shriram, Sita and Lakshmana leave Ayodhya
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.
Rama then gave away his and Sita’s jewelry, along with elephants to Suyajna. He also gave away wealth to the sages, the aged, and the destitute. Rama then took his weapons and went to Dasharatha. Seeing him walk on foot, the people of Ayodhya were distressed. They decided to follow Rama and go with him to the forests.
Dasharatha summoned his wives and then ran to meet Rama, but fell unconscious. He told his son about Kaikeyi’s boon and requested that he stay for one more night. Rama refused and took the King’s permission to leave for exile. The King then ordered that all the riches and the army accompany Rama to the forests.
But Kaikeyi objected saying Bharata would not be left with anything. Overcome with emotion, Dasharatha decided to follow Rama to the forests but was dissuaded by Rama, who requested him to stay and take care of his mother Kausalya, who was deeply saddened. Kaikeyi then brought garments of bark. Rama, Lakshmana, and Sita wore these garments and prepared to leave.
Bowing to the King, the three of them left the palace. Sumantra took them in the chariot and they left for the forests. The people of Ayodhya ran behind them, as did Kausalya. But on Rama’s instructions, Sumantra quickly drove the chariot away. Meanwhile King Dasharatha wept bitterly and his wives came to console him.
But the angry Dasharatha asked Kaikeyi to go away and was consoled by Kausalya. Many well-wishers and sages followed Rama, but he asked them to leave. Finally, they reached the Tamasa River. Sumantra then arranged a bed of leaves for Rama and Sita to sleep. Lakshmana remained awake, guarding Rama.
After some time Rama saw that many citizens of Ayodhya had followed them and were sleeping on the root of trees. To stop them from coming to the forests, he decided that they should leave quietly in their chariot while everyone was asleep. In the morning when the people woke up, they realised Rama and left. With no option, they decided to return to Ayodhya.
As Rama traveled to the forests, people from villages on the way cursed Kaikeyi for sending away a great prince like Rama into exile. After crossing the rivers Gomati and Syandaki, they reached the border of the Kosala kingdom. They decided to rest when they reached Shringaverapura. Learning of Rama’s arrival, the Nishada king Guha arrived with his men.
Guha had brought rice and food, but Rama denied it saying he would only eat fruits, roots, and leaves. He requested food and water for the horses. Drinking only water bought by Lakshmana, Rama and Sita went to sleep lying on the ground.
When Guha asked Lakshmana to sleep, he refused, saying he could not sleep happily when Rama was sleeping on the ground. Lakshmana expressed fear that Dasharatha and Kausalya would not survive the night.
The next morning, Rama informed Sumantra that he would proceed to the forest on foot and asked him to return to Ayodhya. He asked Sumantra to ensure that the king does not grieve. Rama asked him to tell the king that Rama, Lakshmana, and Sita would be back after 14 years and so Bharata should be immediately crowned.
Sumantra was worried that the people of Ayodhya would see his empty chariot and realise Rama would not come back and hence lament. He said the city would be shattered. Sumantra requested Rama to allow him to remain in the forest to serve him. Rama managed to convince Sumantra to leave for Ayodhya.
Then, bidding farewell to Guha, Rama along with Lakshmana and Sita got into a boat and crossed the Bhagarathee. They were now alone and would proceed to the forests for their 14 years of exile.
…. to be continued