Monday, 29 April 2013

47. Mother Kausalya gets a shock of her life.

       The moment Rama stepped out of Kaikeyi's place, all the women in that palace burst out loud weep.  They started wailing "Our very dear prince Rama, who, even without being told by his father or anybody, used to look after all our comforts and requirements and protect the entire palace, is about to go to exile now.  Right from his childhood, he was showing the same attention to us, as he was showing to his mother Kausalya.  He never said or did anything to anyone which could anger that person and he always soothed all those who were angry.  He did not get angry even with those who abused him.  Such a sweet prince Rama is going today to exile.  Our stupid king, by abandoning Rama who was so helpful to all beings, is offending all."  On hearing the terrific distressing wailing sounds in the palace, Dasharatha clung to the seat, with extreme anguish for his son.
      Rama did not seem to be hurt.  He sighed like an elephant, subdued his senses and proceeded to his mother's palace along with Lakshmana.  Rama saw a much worshiped old man along with some people, obviously his disciples sitting at the gateway of the house and many others standing there.  On seeing Rama, all of them approached and greeted Rama, by uttering the words "May you have increased success!"
      Rama crossed the first gate and saw old Brahmanas conversant in Vedas and duly honoured by the king.  Rama offered salutation to those brahmanas and saw old women and girls, guarding the gate in the third enclosure.  Those women greeted Rama delightedly with good words of success, ran into the house and informed Kausalya about the arrival of Rama .
      At that time, Kausalya having spent the whole night praying Lord Mahavishnu with steadfastness, was performing worship to HIM from dawn, for the welfare of her son.  When Rama entered his auspicious mother's apartment, his mother was performing sacrificial ceremony in a sacred fire there.
      Kausalya, who became lean because of the observance of vows, was shining like an angel with her white silk sari and was satiating Gods by presenting Them libations by water.  She saw her son, OH! well! Can you imagine how pleased she felt?  Rama offered salutation to his approaching mother by touching her feet.  She took him into her arms and smelt his head.  She then blessed him and said "My dear child!  King Dasharatha, your father is a man of true promise.  Today itself, you will be installed as his successor."
      Kausalya offered him food, but he politely declined it and told her "Oh,mother!  Now father has decided to make my dear brother Bharatha as his successor.  And he wants me to go to Dandaka forest for fourteen years.  Time has come for me to sit on a seat made of Kusha grass.  I shall live in the forest like a sage for fourteen years, leaving off meat and living on roots, fruits and honey.  I have to be satisfied with the things existing in the forest and subsist with roots and fruits available there, for fourteen years.  I have come here to inform you of the same before leaving for the forest."
      The queen Kausalya fell on the floor all at once like the branch of a tree, cut down by an axe or may be, as an angel dropping down from heaven.
      Rama lifted her up and seated her on a couch.
      Hearing the noise, Lakshmana entered the hall.
      Kausalya, who deserved happiness only, but was afflicted with grief, spoke to Rama, who was sitting nearby, while Lakshmana was hearing "Oh, Rama! I would not have felt this much grief if I were childless.  There is no grief to a barren woman except that she is barren.  Oh, Rama! I have not seen any happiness or prosperity earlier, while my husband is in power.  I believed that I could see them at last when my dear son comes to power.  I had to hear so many unpleasant words from my fellow-wives who are inferior to me and who would pierce my heart with their words though I am a better and more virtuous wife than any of them.   Even when you are near by, I am being rejected.  What to tell when you leave for exile?   Death is the only recourse to me now.  My husband always held me down, without giving me any independence and treated me equal to or even lower than the servants of Kaikeyi.  Those who serve me now and those who follow me, will not even speak to me, after seeing Bharata as the next king.  How can I, the miserable one, see the face of Kaikeyi who always talks hurtfully because of her continuous anger.  Oh,Rama! I have been waiting for seventeen years after your thread ceremony, with the hope that all my troubles will vanish sooner than later.  Oh, Rama! At this old age, I cannot bear insult from the co-wives and this unending sorrow for a long time.  How can I spend this miserable life without seeing your face radiating like full moon.  You are the be all and end all of my life.  This grief is thrust into my body.   Even then, I wonder why my heart is stable.   It has not broken into pieces and fallen on the floor.  It is made of iron, I think.  There is no untimely death, it is certain.  I feel bad since all my religious vows, charities, restraints have all gone waste.  The austerity I performed has gone in vain, as a seed sown in a saline soil.   If a woman in great distress can get premature death out of her own will, I being separated from you, would have to attain the glory of the dead now itself like a cow without the calf.  Moreover, what is the use of life for me now?  Oh, Rama!  How can I live without seeing your brilliant face shining like moon!   My life is useless without you.   I shall accompany you to the forest like a weak cow going behind its calf."

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