Sunday, 21 October 2012

26. King Janaka seeks the consent of King Dasharatha for the alliance.

     Those envoys sent by the King Janaka, entered the city of Ayodhya in the shortest possible time.  On reaching the palace they were permitted an audience with the king Dasharatha, and when they were conducted into his chambers they saw the elderly king Dasharatha gleaming like a god.  Seeing such a godly Dasharatha, the angst of all the ministers (of King Janaka) completely evaporated; and all of them adjoining palms in reverence saluted him.
     COMMENT:Because Dasharatha was caught in the tomfoolery of Kaikeyi, he should not be estimated as an inane personality.  It was their domestic cold war.  He was famous for his achievements and he fought wars on behalf of  gods. Though Valmiki does not narrate Dasharatha's exploits, other scripts say a lot about them.  Hence, whenever Rama's daring, dashing, swashbuckling are to be pictured, he is normally referred to as 'Dasharatha's son.  That is the reason why the angst of the envoys is said in this verse as 'vanished' just by a glimpse of that godly personality, which hitherto haunted them as to how to countenance such a powerful personality they had heard about so much.
End Comment.
      They then addressed the King conveying the compliments of the King Janaka, who directed them to enquire his wellbeing etc.  Then they informed him about the arrival of the Sage Viswamitra at Mithila, with Rama and Lakshmna; Rama's braking of the Siva's Bow.  They described how Rama wrecked that divine bow at its central point before a grand assembly of people, that Seetha was the bounty for bravery, etc.  They informed Dasharatha that their king asked them to seek, on his behalf, his (i.e. Dasharatha's) consent for the alliance.  They also informed that keeping his royal priest Vashishta and other teachers ahead of him, invited him to come apace to Mithila.  They further added "Thus the sovereign of Videha kingdom said these endearing words, abiding by the counsel of the Sage Shataananda.  We have further been directed to inform Your Majesty that Sage Vishwamitra is in full  agreement to the proposal."
      King Dasharatha was highly pleased on hearing that message from the delegates.  It was then decided to leave for Mithila the very next day.       
      On the following dawn, king Dasharatha in the presence of his teachers and relatives told his minister Sumantra  "Now let the chancellors of exchequers draw ample riches, gems and numerous other items that are used in the marriage from bridegroom's side, all-inclusively, and let them travel in advance and let them be well-prepared for any exigency.  Let the quadruple forces start off in a trice from everywhere at my order, and others shall start with excellent vehicles like palanquins, sedan chairs, litters etc., and with those that can be yoked with horses, like cabin-coaches and horse-carriages.
     COMMENT: The fourfold army is generally taken as horses, elephants, chariots, and foot soldiers for the word 'chaturanga balam', while some say such an army is moved only when a massive combat is contemplated, but not when going to marriages.  However, some say though army is moved, it is as much as required.  But this word also qualifies as chaturanga balam= dhana, kanaka, vastu, vaahana sampatti, the quadruple opulence, namely 'riches, gold, equipage, and vehicles...' where opulence will be the only show in Indian marriages, either of poor or rich. R. C. Dutt comes near to this when telling in his poetic version: 'Ride in front with royal riches, gold and gems in bright array'.
End Comment.  
      "Let our prominent and celebrated Bhrahmans Vashishta, Vaamadeva, Jaabaali and Kaashyapa, and the long-lived Maarkandeya, and Sage Kaatyaayana...  travel in forefront,  and let horses be yoked to my royal-cariole.  As the messengers of Janaka are hastening me, arrange for the travel in a trice without any time lapse."
       Then the party moved.
       Dasharatha reached the fringes of Videha kingdom, with all pomp,  and on hearing this, the king Janaka arranged for appropriate welcome ceremonies at the outskirts of the city.

     COMMENT: These formalities are still prevalent in marriage functions, in one way or the other, in India, esp. rural India. The bridegroom's party will be received at the outskirts of the bride's place, esp. if it were to be a village, then a small function/ceremony will be held laudatory to the bridegroom, and then they are invited into that place of bride like, 'meet a party halfway...' type protocol. This is other than baraat 'matrimonial pageantry...'
End Comment.     
      The delighted, gratified and happy king Janaka  welcomed the King Dasharatha by saying "oh, king, a hearty welcome to you.  Your arrival to my city is just by my providence.  You will now get delectation on seeing your sons who won accolades just by their valorousness in the act of raising and breaking Shiva's bow...

      COMMENT: Though Rama alone broke the bow of Shiva, both Rama and Lakshmana are said to have done it. This is a common unified laudation used for both of them, in view of their inseparable brotherhood, and such a sort of commingling both, for one person's action, can be heard often.  For e.g., when Lakshmana misshapes Shuurpanakha, Rama is said to have done it, and even both are said to have done that act.
End Comment.
      "Providentially bechanced is the arrival of this great-resplendent and godly sage Vashishta, who arrived here with all these eminent Brahmans, is like Indra himself with all gods.
      "Providentially my hindrances are overcome by the arrival of godlike sages, and providentially my lineage too is gloried owing to this hymeneal engagement with Rama, who is the most valorous among all the valorous people...
      "Because you are born in the first and foremost Ikshvaku dynasty, you are the Indra of Indra-like kings on earth... and hence, it will be apt of you to initiate the celebrations of marriage tomorrow, and the marriage itself after the culmination of the Vedic-ritual in three or four days, and the date and time for the marriage, that which is agreeable to the best sages can be decided, and you can get it performed on that date, through those great sages."
      King Dasharatha replied "Whatever you say, for you are the knower of probity and nothing goes amiss in your astute thinking."
      King Janaka was very pleased to hear that. 
      COMMENT: Usually the bridegroom's party will be stiff-necked at least till the marriage is over, which has become a nuisance practice in Indian marriages. Here Dasharatha was telling the opposite, by which his words were viewed as agreeable to righteousness of marriages etc., and for which Janaka was surprised.
Eng Comment.    
      Then  Rama, following Vishwamitra, and strutting in step with Lakshmana, strutted to touch the feet of  his father Dasharatha.  On seeing his two sons, King Dasharatha was highly rejoiced and he stayed in Mithila with a high contentment, for the reverence of Janaka was that high.
      Even the great-resplendent Janaka on performing ritual acts according to scriptures for the Vedic-ritual on hand, and the preparatory rituals for handing out both of his daughters in marriage, went into the sleep of the just, with his palm on his chest.

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