Friday, 26 April 2013

46. Kaikeyi surpassed her tutor.

      Rama saw his father sitting on his usual couch, but with his face looking completely parched up and miserable.  Kaikeyi was at his side.  As usual, Rama, first reverentially saluted his father's feet and then saluted Kaikeyi's feet.  Dasharatha spoke only one word "Rama!" with his eyes filled with tears and dejected, being not able to see or to talk any further words.  As he had not seen earlier such a fearful form of his father, Rama was puzzled and was somewhat frightened too, as though he stepped on a vicious snake.  King Dasharatha was sighing heavily with senses sans pleasure, looked emaciated with grief and anguish, with distressed and agitated mind, like the ocean which is normally not  perturbed, becoming perturbed with a row of waves, like the sun which is eclipsed and lost its lustre and like a sage who spoke untruth.
        Contemplating over the unimaginable sorrow of the king, Rama was very much perturbed as an ocean does on a full moon day.  Rama, who was very fond of his father's welfare, anxiously thought "Why dad is not greeting me in return today?  At other times, even when angry, he used to be gracious on me.  Why today such a dear papa has become weary after seeing me?"
      Rama became distressed and afflicted with grief and with some loss of lustre  from his face, inquired Kaikeyi "I hope that I have not done anything wrong through ignorance.  Tell me why father is angry with me.  You alone can propitiate him in my favour.  Why my father, who has always been affectionate to me, has become displeased?   With his face becoming pale and dejected, he is not talking to me.  I hope that either bodily affliction or mental distress is not troubling him.  I agree that one cannot be happy all the time.  However,  I hope that nothing untoward has happened to Bharata, the delightful man to look at or to Shatrughna, the man of great strength or to my mother.   If my father becomes angry with me, I do not desire to live even for a moment without satisfying him or without fulfilling his command.  For any man, father is the visible god who is the root cause of one's own coming into existence and how else can he behave towards him (father) other than like that?   I hope you have not spoken anything which hurt my father's conscience with your pride and anger.  I am asking you why my father has become so perturbed.  I have never seen him so, before.  Please tell me the true reason."
      Kaikeyi kept silent for a moment to gather her wits and then she said sweetly to Rama "Oh, Rama! The king is not angry at all.  There is nothing to distress him.  But he has something in his mind which he is not telling you out of apprehension.   To him, words are not coming off to tell the disagreeable utterance to you, the dear one.  He promised me something.  It is to be certainly done by you.
      "Long ago, the king honoured me and gave me a boon, eh! actually a couple.  Like a common man, he is repenting now for having given the boons.  This king promised me to give the boon and now he desires to repeal it like building a dam (wastefully) on a place where all the water has gone away.  Oh, Rama! It is known by every wise man, that truth is the root of righteousness.  Ensure that your dear father who is a great  king does not abandon such a truth for your sake.  The king is about to mention that the truth which, he thinks, may not look auspicious to you and hence you may not agree to implement it.  However, I will tell you all that for you to implement it...."
       Rama felt pained and told her  "Oh! Mother! What a pity!  Please do not talk to me like that.  If father tells me, I will jump even in fire.  If father, who is the king, who wishes my welfare and who is venerable, commands me, I will eat fiery poison and shall sink into an ocean.  Oh Ma! Tell me the words of the king as desired by him.  I promise to do it.  Rama does not speak two things."
      Kaikeyi exhaled and then said "Oh, Rama!  During a battle, oh! no, a great war between the celestials and the demons long ago, I protected your father who was almost fatally hurt by darts.  Then, in gratitude, he offered me two boons, which I held on hold.  Oh, Rama! I decided to avail those boons today.  For the first boon, I asked the king for the coronation of Bharata and for the second,  your going to Dandaka forest today itself and stay there for fourteen years.  Oh, Rama! If you want to make yourself and your father faithful to a promise, listen to these words of mine.  Abide by your father's command.  As per his assurance, you have to stay in the forest for fourteen years.  Bharata is to be enthroned with the use of the same complete collection of materials already arranged by the king for your sake.  You have to leave this coronation function and dwell in the forest of Dandaka for fourteen years, wearing braided hair and covered with a hide.  Let Bharata rule this earth, by residing in Ayodhya endowed with various types of precious things together with horses, chariots and elephants.  For this reason, king Dasharatha who is overwhelmed with love, affection and sympathy towards you is not able to see you, with his face afflicted with grief.  Oh, Rama!  Do as per the words of the king and liberate him by giving your father an opportunity to vindicate the truth."
      Though she was speaking such harsh words, Rama was nonchalant.  But the mighty Dasharatha became highly disturbed, having been afflicted by the calamity hovering over his son.
      After hearing Kaikeyi, Rama stared at her and smiled.  He then told Kaikeyi "Let it be, as you said it.  I certainly shall fulfill the king's promise.  I will go to the forest from here to reside there, wearing braided hair and covered with a hide.  But I want to know why my dad is not greeting me today as before?  You need not be indignant.  I am telling before you again that I shall go to the forest, wearing rags and braided hair.  Please treat me and talk to me in the same manner as you were doing earlier.  How can I not be faithful to my father as well as the king.  My heart has become heavy with one sorrowful feeling that the king himself has not directly informed me about Bharata's coronation.  Being directed by the king, who is my father too, I cannot even think of disobeying or displeasing him.  I will most willingly give everything to Bharata, duly obeying father's promise to fulfill your beloved desire.  Please console him.  Why indeed the king is thus slowly shedding tears, with eyes gazed upon the floor?  Let messengers go now itself on fleet horses to bring Bharata from his maternal uncle's house as per the orders of the king.  I shall go and live in the forest of Dandaka for fourteen years, without reflecting on whether my father's words are right or wrong."
       Kaikeyi felt happy to see the reaction of Rama. Confident of Rama's departure to the forest, she urged him  "Let it be so.  Messengers can go on horses having rapid speed, to bring back Bharata from his maternal uncle's house.  But I think it is not quite appropriate for you, who are enthusiastic to go to the forest, to delay further.  It is nothing but shyness which inhibits the king from speaking to you.  Oh Rama!  Do not worry about it.  Your father will neither take his bath nor eat a meal until you leave the city for the forest."
      Hearing these words, the king murmured "what a pity! How much misery!" and was overwhelmed with sorrow, fainted and fell down on the couch.  Rama lifted up the king and made him lie comfortably and then turned to Kaikeyi and told her "Oh queen! I am not concerned with wealth.  However, I am eager to receive the world hospitably.  Know me as equal to a sage, abiding in righteousness alone.  If I have to do whatever action is dear to my revered father, that action will just be done in all respects even, if need be, by renouncing life.  There is not indeed anything of greater performance of duty than doing service to one's father or doing what he commands.  Even though my reverent father does not tell me directly, I shall certainly go immediately and reside in the forest, devoid of people, for fourteen years as per your word.  In the matter of coronation of Bharata, you told Dad and not to me, even though you had every authority and right to tell me directly.  By this, it is now clear that you have not seen any merit in me.  It is certain!  Today itself, I shall go to the forest of Dandaka after bidding farewell to my mother and also after consoling Seetha.  While ruling the kingdom, see that Bharata serves our father well.  It is indeed an age-old practice."
      Dasharatha on hearing Rama's words became more hurt. As his heart became very heavy with grief, he was unable to talk.  He, the mighty King Dasharatha wept loudly!
       Rama made salutation to his father as well as to Kaikeyi and coming out of that palace, saw his friends waiting for him at the gate.
      Lakshmana felt very angry and with his eyes filled with tears followed Rama without saying any word.  Rama moved clockwise around the auspicious materials collected for the coronation and having fixed his attention respectfully on them, moved away slowly.
       Rama was a pleasing personality and he was loved by all the people.  The loss of kingdom could not diminish such a great splendour of Rama as a night cannot diminish the splendour of the moon.  In that, Rama, who was denouncing the kingdom after having decided to go to the forest, there was no perturbation of mind in him like in an ascetic who is beyond worldly pain and pleasure.  Rama, the man of great courage, declined fans and umbrella, sent away his friends, chariot and citizens, kept back sorrow in his mind, subdued his senses and entered his mother's house to inform the unpleasant news.
      The people adjacent to Rama could not visualise any change in the face of Rama who was dignified and truthful in his words.  Rama did not lose his natural joy, as an autumnal moon with lofty rays does not lose its natural splendour.  Rama with his courageous spirit and of great fame, paying his respects to the people with his sweet words, went nearer to his mother.  Lakshmana, whose virtues equaled to that of Rama, and who was having great heroic valour, kept the grief and anger within himself and went along with Rama.
      When Rama entered, Kausalya's palace was filled with great joy.  At that time, Rama did not show any indication of the mishap occurred in reality.  He behaved like that because of the possible shock to his dear ones and even of fear to their lives, if he showed any perturbation.

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