Thursday, 11 April 2013

44. The relentless Kaikeyi.

         That wicked queen of shrews was relentlessly tormenting the King, who was by the anguish for his son, lying and not fully conscious and tossing about on the floor.  She glared at him and said  "What is this?  After hearing the promise given to me, you are lying on the floor dejected as though you had committed a great sin.  You ought to keep yourself within the bounds of ethics.  People who know what is right, indeed speak of truthfulness as highest virtue.  Having made a promise to a hawk and offering his body to the bird, king Saibya, the ruler of  the world obtained the greatest destiny.  In that manner, Alarka the glorious man plucking his own eyes, indeed gave remorselessly, to a brahmana skilled in the Veda, when asked for them.  Following compassion, the ocean, the lord of rivers even at the time of high tide, does not transgress even to a small extent its boundary because of its compliance to truth.  Truth is one word and that is Brahma.  On truth is righteousness established.  Truth indeed is the knowledge imperishable.  By truth alone, the supreme being is obtained.  Firmly adhere to the truth, if your mind is fixed on piety.  Since you are acclaimed as a bestower of boons, let my aforesaid prayer be granted pronto.  In order to attain the covetous fruit of righteousness and to concede to my request, send Rama, your son to exile.  I am telling it to you again and again.  If you do not implement our agreement, it means you have abandoned me.   Hence I will give up my life here at this very moment in front of you".
      Thus compelled by Kaikeyi, who had no compunction,  king Dasharatha could not untie the cord of plighted words that fettered him, any more than Bali could unloose the noose placed (round his body) by Indra(through his younger brother Vamana in order to deprive him of his sovereignty of the three worlds).  Like a bullock throbbing between yoke and the wheel, Dasharatha got agitated in heart and became pale in his face.  King Dasharatha, with bedimmed eyes, was unable, as it were, to see.  But with difficulty, he controlled himself  by recourse to firmness and spoke to Kaikeyi  "Oh, wicked woman! I abandon your hand, which was clasped by me in the presence of nuptial fire, when it was consecrated by sacred recitations as also your son along with yourself.  The night has almost gone, with the return of rising sun.  Elderly people will certainly quicken me for installation of  Rama with the sacred materials procured for the purpose.  If you obstruct Rama's installation, you and your son cannot offer me water(to my departed spirit).  Rama will be made to do the offering of water to me, after my death.  Having seen people with that joy before, I cannot see them with their happiness ended, without any merriment and having their faces turned downward in grief".
      While the king and Kaykeyi were staring belligerently at each other and thinking hard as to how to change the mind of the other, the night endowed with moon and stars began to become clear into a dawn.
      The adamancy of the king made Kaikeyi more angry.   She almost shouted "You better stop this balderdash.  Be sensible and summon your son Rama here without any delay.  You will not be doing any favour to me but only be discharging your duty, by installing my son to this kingdom and by making Rama to wander in the woods and rid me of enemies."
      Impelled again and again by Kaikeyi, like an excellent horse being severely thrashed with a whip, that king weakly said "I am bound by the ties of morality.  I lost my judgement.  I wish to see the pious Rama, my beloved eldest son."
      At last with the rising of the sun the next day started.  While the auspicious moment was approaching, the sage Vashishta surrounded by his disciples entered the capital city of Ayodhya briskly, having procured the requisite materials for Rama's coronation.  Passing through that city, whose streets were swept and watered and decorated with excellent flags, overspread with colourfull flowers, made brilliant with various types of garlands, thronged with joyous people, with shops and markets in abundance, marked with lot of festivities, anxiously waiting for Rama, fumigated on all sides with perfumes of sandalwood, also resembling Amaravathi city(capital of Indra);  the sage Vashishta beheld the excellent gynaecium graced with many a number of brahmanas, crowded with citizens and countrymen, and fully packed with servants carrying  a staff and excellent horses richly adorned. Then Vashishta saw Sumantra and told him "Go to the king immediately and tell him that I have come.  Also tell him that everything is ready for the coronation of Rama "
       Sumantra entered the palace. The doormen did not obstruct Sumantra, as he was a senior official and was highly esteemed by the king.
      Standing besides the king and ignorant of that situation, Sumantra addressed the king Dasharatha "Your majesty! The holy night has gone by.  All the requirements for Rama's coronation are procured and kept ready.  His holiness the venerable Vashishta himself stands waiting at the gate along with brahmanas, being saluted with joined palms by citizens, village folks and merchants.  Sir! Give orders quickly for Rama's coronation ceremony.  A kingdom without a king is like cattle without a herdsman, army without a commander, night without the moon and cows without a bull."
      Dasharatha did not say anything, but was staring at nowhere!  He could not say any thing himself  because of depression. Then, Kaikeyi told Sumantra "Oh Sumantra! The king, being smitten by emotional joy in relation to Rama, was tired as he did sleep last night.  He is therefore, resting.  Please do not disturb him.  Quickly go and bring the glorious prince Rama here.  Pronto!"
      He was thinking of that auspicious occasion in heart and rejoiced.  With pleasure, he set out, by the orders of the king.  Instigated by her, Sumantra thought that the righteous Rama would come there certainly for coronation.  Sumantra thus thinking and dwelling in a great joy, set out with a desire to see the long armed Rama.
      Sumantra on coming out saw the gate being crowded with throngs of people.  Afterwards, proceeding further on, he saw near the gate some kings stationed there and very rich citizens having arrived.

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