Ayodhya Kand 4 - Dasharatha departs to heaven
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.
After spending a night on the other side of the Ganga, Rama, Lakshmana, and Sita proceeded to the ashrama of the sage Bharadvaja. The sage blessed them and invited them to stay in his ashrama. However, Rama expressed the apprehension that the people of Ayodhya would come there in search of him.
The sage then pointed out a mountain ten kroshas away. Known as Chitrakoota, it was a lonely place that was just like the Gandhamadhana Mountains. He told Rama that the place would be ideal for him to stay with his brother and wife since it was abundant with honey, fruits, roots, deer and elephants. After staying for a night in the ashrama, the next day, the three of them departed from there after taking the blessings of the sage.
Making a raft, they crossed the Kalindi, Amshumati, and Yamuna rivers. They reached their destination, and having consumed a meal by hunting deer, they settled down for the night. The next day they reached beautiful Chitrakoota and started to build a home. They then sacrificed an antelope and entered their new home.
Built from leaves and other materials, the hut was surrounded by flowering trees. The well-constructed hut was safe and free from the effect of wind. They then began their stay in the forests in their hut trying to forget the painful events that led to their exile.
Meanwhile, Sumantra returned to Ayodhya. Seeing him come alone, the people of Ayodhya cried that they would never see Rama again. Sumantra went to meet the king. Seeing him and hearing Rama’s message, Dasharatha lost his senses. After he woke up, he expressed his pain that Rama had to sleep on the ground and live in a forest full of wild animals.
The king bemoaned the fact that he was forced to listen to the evil Kaikeyi and send Rama to exile. He pleaded with Sumantra to take him to see Rama once failing which he would surely die. The king once again fainted, and a worried Kausalya also requested Sumantra to take her to Rama.
Sumantra assured her Rama was capable of dealing with anything in the forest and was ably aided by Lakshmana. He repeatedly assured that they were not grieving and the royals should not grieve. But Kausalya was not convinced and continued to worry about Rama and Sita. She accused the King of destroying her and the citizens of Ayodhya.
The king then asked her forgiveness with folded hands. It had been five nights since Rama had left, and it was like five years for them. On the sixth night, Dasharatha remembered an incident from the past and narrated it to Kausalya.
As a young man, Dasharatha practiced the art of shabhdavedhi, where he would shoot at a target without seeing it by listening to its sound. Once he shot at what he thought was an elephant, but it turned out to be a young man filling a pot with water. The young man told Dasharatha that he was taking water for his parents. He asked Dasharatha to go and inform his father so he does not curse him.
Dasharatha had then gone to meet the aged parents of the young man. He had told them of how he accidentally killed their son. The hermit told him that had he not told him the truth, his head would have been shattered into 1000 pieces. The hermit and his wife, who were blind and aged asked Dasharatha to take them to see their son’s body. They performed the last rites and saw their son ascend to heaven.
The hermit then said he would die grieving over his son. He had cursed Dasharatha that he too would die after being separated from his son. Remembering the hermit’s curse, Dasharatha cursed his fate for being separated from Rama. Even as he grieved, he gave up his life. The King of Ayodhya was dead.
…. to be continued