Bala Kanda 3 - Shri Ram is born
All arrangements were made for the sacrifice with accommodation, food, and drink arranged for the brahmanas. The sage Vasishta advised that all artisans must be respected. He then asked Sumantra to invite great kings like Janaka of Mithila, the king of Kashi, Kekaya, Romapada of Anga, and other kings. The kings arrived with precious gems as gifts.
The process for the sacrifice then started with the sacrificial horse being released. The horse returned after a year. The sacrifice was done on the northern banks of the river Sarayu by Vasistha who placed Rishyashringa at the forefront. Six sacrificial posts were erected, and bricks were laid out for the fire.
The horse was then sacrificed with other animals. At the end of the sacrifice, Dasharatha offered the earth to the priests, who returned it to him. He then gave away a million cows and crores of gold and silver coins. The king then requested Rishyashringa to help him get heirs, so the lineage of Raghu (Raghuvamsha) could continue.
The sage then performed the sacrifice to get children. The gods who were witnessing the sacrifice told the creator Brahma about the evils committed by Ravana of Lanka. Brahma then informed them that as per his boon, Ravana could be killed only by a man and not by a God or any other being. The Gods then went to Vishnu and requested that he be born on earth as Dasharatha’s son to get rid of the evil Ravana.
The Lord of the three worlds Narayana, then agreed. Even as the sacrifice was being performed, a divine being arose and presented a sweet dish (payasam). The being asked the king to give the sweet dish to his wives and get sons from them. The happy king then accepted the golden vessel with the payasam.
He then gave half the payasam to his first wife Kausalya. Half of what remained was given to Sumitra. Half of the remaining sweet dish, he gave to his third wife Kaikeyi. He offered what remained to Sumitra again. Through the payasam, Lord Vishnu entered the wombs of Dasharatha’s wives and would be born on earth to save the world from the vile Ravana.
Brahma then asked the Gods and celestial beings to be born on earth as vanaras and other beings. Surya birthed a brave son called Sugriva, while Indra birthed Vali. These powerful vanaras then dwelt on the slope of the mountain Rikshavat.
Dasharatha’s wives then gave birth to children. Kausalya gave birth to the eldest son and heir, who was named Rama. Kaikeyi had a son named Bharata. Sumitra, who had two portions of the payasam, gave birth to twins who were named Lakshmana and Shatrughna. The sage Vasishta then performed the naming ceremony of the princes.
The eldest Rama shone with valour. Lakshmana loved his brother and always remained with him. Soon, the princes grew and learned the vedas and archery. As the princes grew, the king began to scout for brides for his sons. When the king discussed with his ministers, the sage Vishwamitra arrived in Ayodhya.
The king welcomed the great sage respectfully. He delighted the sage, praising him and promised to do whatever task he gave him. Vishwamitra then asked the king to send Rama to kill the demons Maricha and Subhahu who were disturbing his sacrifice. The king was worried how his 16 year old son would fight against the terrible demons. He told Vishwamitra that he would fight the demons, but the sage should not ask for the child Rama to be sent.
Vishwamitra then told Dasharatha the story of the demon king Ravana, who was from the lineage of sage Pulastya. Son of Vishrava and the brother of Kubera, Ravana used demons like Maricha and Subahu to obstruct the sacrifice of sages. Dasharatha was all the more unwilling to send Rama and this angered sage Vishwamitra.
…. to be continued