Friday, 30 August 2013

73. Bharata declined the crown.

                Sage Vasishta and the other king makers approached Bharata in the early morning on the fourteenth day and pleaded "Dasharatha, who was our highly venerable master, has gone to heaven. His eldest son Rama has gone to forest and will not be back for fourteen years. On date you are the available eldest son of the late King Dasharatha. We, therefore, request you to take over the kingdom. Everything needed for the coronation is already ready. Counselors and the ministers as well as the citizens are awaiting you. Take over this great kingdom, which came in succession from your ancestors, and rule us."
         Bharata shook his head and silently performed circumambulation clockwise around all the things kept ready for the consecration as well as coronation, and replied "Is it not appropriate and also the prevailing custom to bestow the kingship always to the eldest son? You, being highly knowledgeable in this regard, ought not to ask me in this manner to assume the kingship. Our eldest brother, Rama shall become the king. I, if need be, will substitute him and reside in the forest for fourteen years. 
          "Let our great and exceptionally powerful army consisting of all the four limbs be kept on alert. I shall go with them, search, find and bring back Rama, our eldest brother from the forest. Keeping in front, all the assembled requisites needed for consecration, we shall proceed to the forest solemnize him as the king of this kingdom there itself, and bring him back, like bringing home the sacred fire from a sacrificial rite, after performing it outside the city. I shall not make her, my so called mother, fulfill her desire. I instead of Rama will reside in the forest. Rama will become the king. Let a path-way be prepared by those skilled in that profession, by leveling the uneven surfaces. Let guards who can easily move in the inaccessible forests accompany us in the path."
          This admirable proclamation was received by the entire assembly in front of him with a contagious cheer and he was hailed in a chorus "Let the gracious goddess of prosperity abide with you, who is speaking with such an exemplary probity, desirous of giving the kingdom to Rama, the eldest son of the king."
          Hearing those heartening words spoken by the prince, tears of joy flowed copiously from the eyes of those venerable men. Hearing these words, the people there along with the council of ministers felt cheerful, being relieved of their anxiety and said cheerfully "As per your command, devoted men and a group of artisans will immediately be instructed to make the path-way without any delay."
Sarga 79

Monday, 26 August 2013

72. The rage of Shatrughna.

                    While returning after finishing the rites pertaining to the thirteenth day, Shatrughna who was in a deep thought suddenly blurted out  "When that even-minded Rama is a refuge for all beings, how much more to tell about our seeking solace to him in our grief?  He has been abandoned to the forest by a woman.  Why even Lakshmana, well known as a strong and powerful man, could not rescue Rama from distress by making our father to restrain from doing it?  By perceiving the prudence and imprudence in that wrong course adopted by the king, who has fallen into the clutches of that shrew, Lakshmana should have restrained dad even at the beginning itself."
        While Shatrughna the younger brother of Lakshmana was raising the fundamental point of doubt, the hump-backed Manthara duly adorned with all types of ornaments, appeared at the eastern gate.  Anointed with a scent of sandal-wood and wearing royal clothes, she was bedecked with several kinds of ornaments of every description in various ways.  Studded with bright-coloured girdle-bands and many other excellent ornaments, Manthara appeared like a female monkey tied with ropes!
          Perceiving  that hump-backed Manthara, the very much sinister and insensitive woman, the door-keepers caught her and delivered her to Shatrughna saying "Here is that sinful and cruel woman, by whose act Rama is in the forest and your father has laid down his body.  Do with her, as you consider fit and just."
         Hearing that, Shatrughna who was very much in grief and was firmly resolute said  "Let this woman, who created such a misfortune to my brothers and my father, receive the fruit of her cruel act."
         When he seized that hunch-backed woman with his powerful hand, she started to howl in fright which made that mansion resound with her shrieks.  Her companions ran away helter-shelter in all directions thinking "The way how he looks, he will surely slay us all. We shall take refuge with the compassionate, magnanimous, virtuous and illustrious Kausalya.  She will certainly give us asylum."
          Shatrughna, with his raging red eyes then violently dragged the crying hump-back along the floor.  While that Manthara was being violently dragged, her various colourful ornaments were scattered asunder here and there on the floor. Thus, that splendid royal mansion scattered by those ornaments, appeared very much like an autumnal sky studded with innumerable stars.  Shatrughna, a very strong and a powerful man, thus violently seizing her with rage, sharply rebuked Kaikeyi and spoke harsh words to her. Agonized very much by those harsh and painful words, Kiakeyi overwhelmed as she was with the fear of Shatrughna, took refuge with Bharata.
            Bharata told his brother "Among all beings women are not to be killed.  Hence she is to be pardoned.  If the pious Rama is not to express his displeasure with me for killing the mother, I would have killed this Kaikeyi, the ill-mannered and sinful woman.  If the virtuous Rama hears that the hunch-backed woman has been killed, it is sure that he will cease to talk to you and to me, too ."
            Hearing the words of Bharata, Shatrughna the younger brother of Lakshmana renouncing his guilty design forthwith released Manthara.  Manthara fell at the feet of Kaikeyi, breathless, weeping piteously.  Seeing the hunch-backed woman, who was very much disturbed on account of shatrughna's violence, wearing a distorted appearance and looking like a crane that has been caught in a noose, Bharata's mother tried to console her.

Saturday, 24 August 2013

71. Bharata did the last rites for his father.

            The following morning sage Vasishta, came to Bharata and said "Dear Bharata! My blessings to you. You have lamented long enough. Perform in an excellent way, the last rites of your father."  Bharata, not less righteous than his brother Rama, fell prostate and with the blessings of 
Vasishta proceeded with all the arrangements for the obsequies. The body of the king Dasharatha in the the vessel where it had been immersed in oil, looked as if asleep with the face the colour of gold. Bharata gently lifted the body and placed it in a magnificent couch, adorned with every kind of precious stone. Then Bharata looked at his father and in a great grief, lamented "O, Dad! Having sent to exile the virtuous Rama and Lakshmana, while I was away from home, what did you intend to do? Oh, king! Oh, father! Who is supposed to see the welfare and security of your city of Ayodhya, while you have departed for heaven and Rama to a forest?  Bereft of you and deprived of its lord, this earth does not look charming. To me, this city looks like a night without the moon".  The great sage Vasishta told him kindly "Oh, my dear Bharata! Without hesitation or repining, carry out the funeral rites of the king that should be done." Bharata nodded and in deference to Vasishta's command, commanded the appointed priests to start the funeral rites.
          The fires for the king were prepared outside the chamber and kindled in accordance with the rituals by the priests and the sacrificial attendants.  The attendants were choked with tears in their throats and disconsolate in their mind, made the dead king to mount on a palanquin and carried it away to the place at the bank of the Saraya river where the cremation was to take place. Many people went along the path, scattering silver, gold and various kinds of clothes in front of the king.  In the same manner, some others brought sandal wood, sweet aloes, different fragrant essences, with heaps of Sarala, Padmaka and Devadaru woods and many other kinds of fragrant substances, went there and threw them into the funeral pile.  Thereafter the appointed priests caused the king's body to lie down there in the midst of the funeral pyre. Then, those priests engaged for the benefit of the king poured oblations into the fire and recited sacred texts (relevant to the funeral rites). Those among the priests who could recite the hymns of Samaveda, chanted them according to the rules. Then, the royal ladies, encircled by elders mounted palanquins or other vehicles, as deserving and departed from the city to that place. Then, the appointed priests as well as Kausalya and other women who were tormented with grief, circumambulated in anti clockwise direction that king who was lying on the funeral pile.  At that time the crying sounds of thousands of women, pitiably weeping with agony, were heard like the sounds of female curlew birds. Thereafter, the lamenting ladies deprived of their grit wept again and again and descended from their vehicles at the bank of Sarayu River. Along with Bharata, the royal women, the ministers and family priests offered their oblations with water and returned to the city with their eyes filled in tears and spent ten days with great difficulty by sleeping on bare floor.
            After the tenth day of the death of Dasharatha, Bharata performed Shraddha* rites on the arrival of the twelfth day.
* Shraddha rites are in the honor and for the benefit of dead relatives observed with great strictness at various fixed periods and on the occasion of rejoicing as well as mourning by the surviving relatives. These are performed by the daily offering of water and on the stated occasion by the offering of Pindas or balls of rice and meal to three paternal forefathers i.e. Father, grandfather, and great grandfather.  It is an act of reverential homage to a deceased person performed by relatives, most desirably by a son of the deceased.
           On the occasion of Shraddha rites, Bharata gave precious stones, money, a lot of cooked rice, very valuable clothes and various other kinds of presents to Brahmans.  In that ceremony performed in honor of the dead king, Bharata gave multitudes of white goats, hundreds of cows, servants and servant maids, vehicles and very big houses to Brahmans. 
           Then, at dawn on the thirteenth day, Bharata who came for clearing up bones and ashes, when reached the foot of his father's funeral pile to collect the bones and ashes for their immersion in the Sarayu River, cried in great agony "O, father! My brother Rama to whose care I was entrusted by you, having gone on exile to the forest, I have now become abandoned wholly alone, by you."
          Seeing that spot of collection of bones, which became reddish brown in colour because of ashes, with bones consumed by fire and his father's body having extinguished, Bharata was depressed and began to cry loudly. Miserable as he was to see the spot, Bharata fell weeping on the ground, as a flag staff fastened by any mechanical contrivance would drop down while being raised in honor of Indra the god of celestials.  All his ministers hastily approached Bharata just like the sages once rushed to the fallen Yayati at the time of his death. 
           Shatrughna was also overwhelmed with grief and fell unconscious on the ground. Remembering the many gestures of his loving father from time to time, Shatrughna was lamenting like one who has lost his wits, bewildered as he was. He cried "We are immersed in a violent and appalling ocean of sorrow invoked by Mandhara, in which Kaikeyi in the form of a crocodile swam in its current the irrevocable boons granted to her by my father. Oh, father! Where have you gone leaving us. You used to fulfill the wishes of all of us, in the matter of eatables, drinks, clothes and jewels. Who else will do it now for us. It is a great wonder that earth which is deprived of you, the high soled and righteous king, is not riven. Father having gone to heaven and Rama having taken refuge in a forest, what is the significance of life for me? Bereft of my brother and father, I can not return to the deserted city of Ayodhya, where Ikshvaku used to reign.  I shall retire to a hermitage."
          Hearing the lamentations of the brothers and beholding their plight, all their companions were disturbed very much, once again. Both Shatrughna and Bharata were wearied with grief and began to roll on the ground, like two bulls whose horns have been broken. Then, Vasishta, the family priest, raised up Bharata from the ground and spoke "Oh, Bharata! This is the thirteenth day of the death of your father. Why are you hanging down here, when the ceremony of collecting the bones is still unfinished?  The three pairs of opposites (namely hunger and thirst, joy and sorrow, birth and death) occur to all living beings without any exception. They being inevitable, you ought not to behave like this."
           Sumantra, who knew the Truth, raising up Shatrughna and pacifying him, told him about the origin and dissolution of all beings. The two illustrious tigers among men (Bharata and Satrughna) who had got up, appeared like two banners severally raised in honor of Indra (the god of celestials) soiled through rain and the sun. The ministers hurried up to the princes, who were wiping their tears and who were talking pitiably with their eyes reddened (due to excessive weeping) to expedite the other rites pertaining to the thirteenth day.

Wednesday, 21 August 2013

70. Bharata convinced Kausalya his ignorance about the vicious act.

                Bharata, after gaining control of his perturbed and grieving mind opened his eyes and saw his mother whose eyes were filled pitiably with tears. As he could not any longer bear the sight of her, Bharata, along with Shatrughna started out to Kausalya's place. 
        In the meanwhile, recognising the voice of Bharata, Kausalya told Sumitra "Bharata, the son of Kaikeyi, the doer of terrific deeds arrived. I want to see him." and started proceeding to see him.  They met on the way. With tears in her eyes, Kausalya told Bharata "So! You desired for the kingdom. By the cruel deed of Kaikeyi, you mother, it was obtained for you sooner! Your very, very dear mother condemned my son to wear garments of bark and sent him to dwell in the forest. What has she gained from this? Kaikeyi ought to have send me too with him. Otherwise, I for my own satisfaction, accompanied by Sumitra, should have joined my husband. Otherwise, you yourself ought to send me now to the place where my son is living as an ascetic. As this vast kingdom, endowed with elephants, horses and chariots and stock piled with grains and riches, has been made over to you, you may not like me to reside here any longer."
        Derided with these harsh words that he had not merited, Bharata was extremely hurt, as if a needle was thrust into his heart. With his eyes brimmed with tears he wailed in many ways and fell at the feet of the queen.
         Then, with folded hands, he told "Oh, my noble mother! Please do not reproach me. I was absolutely unaware of what that woman who bore me, did. I solemnly  affirm that I do not know anything. You know very the well affection I have for Rama. May the mind of the one who in any way whatsoever contrived for the departure of my dear brother, be closed to all the scriptures. May he who counseled the banishment of my noble brother become the slave of the vilest scoundrels. With whose counsel my elder brother was sent to exile, to him let that sin incur, as to a master who imposes the heaviest labour on his servant without remunerating him. With whose counsel my elder brother has gone to exile, to him let that sin incur as to those who seek to harm a king who protects his people as if they are his own children. May the guilt of a king, who taking the sixth part of the revenue of his people fails to protect them, be fallen on them with whose counsel my elder brother went to exile. May the sin of those having given the promise for certain sacrificial fees to priests in a sacrifice, breaks that promise, to be his with whose counsel my elder brother went to exile. May the sin of him, who fails to observe the code of warfare followed by the virtuous in a battle abundantly provided with elephants, horses, chariots, weapons and men, be his with whose counsel my elder brother went to exile. May that perverse wretch, with whose counsel my elder brother has gone to exile, forget the subtle meanings of the scriptures taught with care by a wise teacher. May he by whose counsel my elder brother has gone to exile, never behold that Rama seated as he will be on the throne. May that pitiless one by whose counsel my elder brother has gone to exile, incur the sin of partaking milk boiled with rice and sugar, a cooked mixture of rice and peas with a few species and a goat flesh without offering them to the gods and be lacking in reverence towards teachers. May he with whose counsel my elder brother has gone to exile, incur the sins of kicking the cows, of personally abusing the elders and of deceiving a friend too much. May that perverse wretch on whose counsel my elder brother has gone to exile incur the sin of divulging the little abusing words about others spoken occasionally in secret and in confidence to him. May he on whose counsel my elder brother has gone to exile, become a non doer, an ungrateful person, a desperate man, the one who has abandoned shame and the one who is worthy of hate. May he on whose counsel my elder brother has gone to exile, incur the sin of eating delicious food for himself alone when he is surrounded by his sons, wife and servants in his house. May he with whose counsel my elder brother has departed, die without any child, failing to secure a wife suitable for him and thus not fulfilling his religious duties. May he with whose counsel my elder brother has departed, not see a child through his wife and may not get a full long life. That sin which is proclaimed for killing a king, a woman, a child or an aged person or in abandoning one's dependents fall on him on with whose counsel my elder brother has gone to exile. May he with whose counsel my elder brother has gone to exile, get the sin of nurturing his wife, children and other dependents through sale of lacquer, liquor, flesh, iron or poison.  May he on whose counsel my elder brother has gone to exile, obtain the sin of being killed while fleeing, at a time when a battle inspiring fear upon enemy's side has commanded. May he with whose counsel my elder brother has gone to exile, wander about the world, as a mad man with a wooden bowl in his hand, dressed in rags and begging for alms. May he with whose counsel my elder brother has departed, be given over to infatuation and anger and be constantly involved in wine, women and dice.  May the mind of the person on whose counsel my elder brother has gone to exile, never take delight in righteousness. Let him indulge in unrighteousness and become a distributor of gifts for the undeserving. With whose counsel my elder brother has gone to exile, let his various kinds of riches got accumulated in thousands, be snatched away by robbers. That sin which was proclaimed on him who sleeps during both the twilights, let that sin be obtained by him, with whose counsel my elder brother has gone to exile. Let the person on whose counsel my brother was sent to exile obtain that sin, which attaches to a man who practices arson, to a man who cheats his friend. May he, with whose counsel my elder brother has gone to exile, incur that sin of not doing service to the god, to the manes and likewise to his mother and father. May he with whose counsel my elder brother has gone to exile, forfeit from the region obtained by virtuous man, forfeit the illustriousness enjoyed by good men and those always doing only righteous actions. May he with whose counsel, that long armed and broad chested elder brother has gone to exile, fail to give due reverence to his mother and be condemned to idleness.  May he with whose counsel my elder brother has gone to exile, possess many dependents but without resources, be undermined with fever and disease and be forever in distress.  May he on whose counsel my elder brother has gone to exile, incur the sin of falsifying the hopes of highly miserable destitute, who having their eyes looking up seek for alms. May he one whose counsel my elder brother has gone to exile, incur the sin of staying in fear of the king forever as a cunning man, a cruel man, a back biter, a dishonest man and an unrighteous man. May the evil minded man, with whose counsel my elder brother has gone to exile, incur the sin of ignoring his chaste wife, who having bathed after her course of menstruation approaches him for union having regard for the season favorable for procreation. May that stupid with whose counsel my elder brother has gone to exile, incur the sin of courting the consort of another disdaining his lawful wife. May he, with whose counsel my elder brother has gone to exile, incur that sin, which is obtained by a Brahmana who is issueless. May he with whose counsel my elder brother has gone to exile, incur the sin that is attached to a person polluting the drinking water and likewise to a person who administers poison. May he with whose counsel my elder brother has gone to exile, incur the sin attached to a person disturbing the worship going to be offered to a Brahmana, and to milking a cow having a young calf of less than ten days old.
           "To him, with whose counsel my elder brother has gone to exile, let that sin be obtained fordisappointing a person oppressed with thirst, even though water was available.  With whose counsel my elder brother has gone to exile, let the sin be accorded to him, who while standing on the road, merely witnesses a dispute between two divided groups without trying to make peace between them."
        Saying what he had to, to convince Kausalya that he was innocent, Bharata fell down, depressed as he was with anguish.
         Kausalya, after hearing Bharata was fully convinced about his innocence spoke to him "Oh, son! I am so sorry. I should have known that you are not capable of doing any harm to any of your brothers. By uttering the curses, you are indeed racking my spirits. Fortunately, your mind as it is, is endowed with nobility, has not swerved from righteous path. You will obtain the world of the blessed, along with Lakshmana."
           Then she embraced him and wept aloud, as she was very much afflicted with grief. Lamenting thus, Bharata distraught on account of grief, felt himself dizzy, with his mind crushed by the burden of grief.
           To Bharata that night passed with grief in lamenting thus laying fallen unconscious on his bed, sighing warmly again and again with his power of discernment having been lost.

Saturday, 17 August 2013

69. Bharata showed his mettle.

              Not finding his father there in his father's place, Bharata went to his mother's apartment (where Bharata thought, his dad would most likely to be found). Kaikeyi was absolutely delighted to see her long-lost son. After the usual formalities Bharata sat near his mom. She affectionately asked him "How many days passed since you have left your maternal grand father's house? Is there no travel fatigue to you, who has come speedily in a chariot? Oh,son! Is your grand father doing well? Is Yudhajit, your maternal uncle doing well? Were you happy in being absent from home? Be good enough to tell me all?"
           Bharata replied "It is seventh day for me today since I left the grand father's house. Your father as well as my maternal uncle are doing well. Carrying the gifts and jewels, given to me by the king, my followers became tired on the way and as such they required some rest. I, though tired, continued the journey and arrived ahead of them. I rushed because of the very enigmatic message that was communicated by the royal messengers to me. Will you please tell me why I was asked to come back so immediately.
         "I notice many unusual things here. For starters this couch of yours, which is fit for rest and decorated with gold, is empty. Then the men and women of Ikshvaku race do not appear to be cheerful. King Dasharatha mostly used to be here in this house. Now, I do not see him. I came here desirous of seeing him. Where can I find him?  Is he in the house of Kausalya, the senior most of my mothers?"
         Kaikeyi nonchalantly told Bharata the demise of the king. 
         Bharata, not an iota less righteous than his dear brother Rama, was totally aghast at hearing that news and immediately fell down on the ground, being exceedingly tormented by the grief for his father. Bharata, shocked, grievous and depressed cried loudly "Oh! My God!". He then started lamenting "These beautiful couch of my father earlier used to enhance its charm with his splendor, as the moon irradiates the stainless sky in the night at the end of a rainy season. Being unoccupied by my virtuous father, the same couch is now bereft of its glory, like the sky without the moon or like the sea with its water dried up."
         Covering his face with a raiment, Bharata, with a profound distress in his mind shed tears in lamentation. Kaikeyi tried to lift him up from the floor saying "Oh, my dear silly boy get up! Why are you lying down? Gentlemen, like you, respected in the assembly of men, do not and should not grieve."
        He lamented saying "I was sure that I was called back so urgently because the king was either going to anoint Rama as a prince regent or to perform a sacrifice. I, therefore, cheerfully commenced the journey. Alas! It turned to be otherwise. By not beholding my father, who was always interested in my wishes and welfare, my heart is broken to pieces. Oh, mother! On what ailment did the king die, when I was not here? Rama and others who performed the last rites by themselves for our father are indeed fortunate. Where is the caressing hand of my dear father which used to wipe away the dust with which I was covered? Immediately inform about my arrival to Rama, my wise brother, like my father, my friend and to whom I am a most obedient and faithful servant.  An elder brother indeed becomes a father for a faithful man who knows righteousness. I will grasp his feet in obeisance. He is indeed the refuge for me now. What did my father say before he died?  I want to hear exactly the last message of my father."
         Kaikeyi  mischeivously but truthfully told Bharata "His last words were 'Oh, Rama, Oh, Seetha, Oh, Lakshmana!' "
         Hearing this second unpleasant news, Bharata became more dejected. With a gloomy face, he once again asked his mother "Where did Rama go now along with my brother Lakshmana and with Seetha?"
        Asked pointedly by Bharata in this manner, his mother told him what had happened, as though they were very pleasant words "Oh, son! Rama, wearing a long narrow pieces of bark, went to the great forest of Dandaka, followed by Lakshmana and Seetha."
         Bharata was too flabbergasted to speak. He could not believe. A prince will be sent on exile only for his unrighteous act(s); but he knew that his dear brother Rama was absolutely incapable of doing anything unrighteous.  He, therefore, asked his mother "I do not understand! Rama could not have done anything warranting his exile. Please tell me why did he go to the forest."
        Thereafter his mother told him exactly what happened that lead Rama going to the forest. Kaikeyi, thinking that Bharata will be highly pleased said "On hearing about the coronation ceremony of Rama, I asked your father to bestow the kingdom to you and for the banishment of Rama to the forest. Submitting to his own decree, King Dasharatha, your father has done all that was requested by me. Rama along with Lakshmana and Seetha was sent into exile. That beloved son having not been seen, the very celebrated monarch was made miserable by the grief for his son and embraced death. The kingdom may be taken over by you now. All this was indeed done for your sake in this manner by me. Oh, son! Do not dwell in grief and anguish. Dwell in courage. This city along with the salubrious kingdom indeed is subservient to you. Hence, meet the chiefs of Brahmanas like Vasishta who know the rituals, perform soon the sacred rites to the king and get crowned as a king yourself to this illustrious kingdom."
       Bharata was highly distressed to hear that two of his dear brothers had gone away to the forest and his dear father was dead. He told his mother "My dear father and my brothers Rama and Lakshmana are very dear and most important to me. Bereft of my father as well as my brothers Rama and Lakshmana, I just don't give a damn to the kingdom. Making Dasharatha to die and turning Rama to be an ascetic, you brought one calamity after another like sprinkling salt on a wound.  You came for the destruction of our race, like the night of destruction at the end of the world. My father could not have been aware of his embracing a vicious serpent to his bosom. Oh, the malevolent woman! You caused the death of my father. Oh, the one who made our race unchaste! In this race, happiness is deserted through your cupidity. My father, the king Dasharatha, who was true to his promise and immensely famous, tormented as he was with bitter grief, because of you is now dead. Why did you kill my father the monarch, who was intent on righteousness? Why did you send Rama on exile to the forest?  It is impossible that Kausalya and Sumitra, who are afflicted with grief for their sons, will live in fellowship with you, my mother. You know very well that Rama my elder brother, a pious man who knows how to behave with elders, used to act with the best behavior in your case, exactly the same way he was behaving with his own mother.  In the same manner, Kausalya, my elder mother with foresight and established in piety, indeed used to behave with you as your sister. Are you not ashamed for sending Rama, the disciplined Kausalya's son, clothed in a bark dress, to live in a forest? Oh, sinful one! You indeed sent into exile, clad in a bark dress, Rama, a virtuous, a valiant, a self controlled and an illustrious prince. I think it is not known to you, a greedy woman, about my devotion to Rama. It is exactly so. You have brought in this great calamity for the sake of a kingdom. By which source of strength will I be able to protect the kingdom, without those lions among men, Rama and Lakshmana in proximity to me? Dasharatha the monarch, having great strength and a pious mind always indeed used to take refuge in that strong man Rama as the Meru mountain takes refuge in the forests surrounding the mountain. By what stamina, can I sustain this burden of kingship any more than a young bullock that is yet to be tamed, would stand the strain on getting a load, that was used to be lifted up with ease by a giant bullock. Or even if a strength can be brought into existence in me by following certain suitable methods or by strength of intelligence, I will not allow you, who is greedy in fetching the kingdom for your son, to fulfill your desire. No aversion would be felt by me even to desert you, a woman of evil designs, had Rama not treated you like his own mother at all times.
        "Oh, malevolent woman with your good conduct disappeared! How this idea forbidden by our ancestors, has arisen in your mind at all? The eldest of all in this race should be indeed anointed as a king. The rest of his brothers are to behave reverently towards their elder brother. Oh, cruel woman! I feel that you do not seem to know even a glimpse of the rules relating to kings or not even aware of the standard procedure prevailing in the administration of kings. According to the administration of kings the eldest son always indeed gets inaugurated into the kingdom. This procedure is same to all kings; especially so in the case of Ikshvaku kings. The pride of reputation of those belonging to Ikshvaku race, who protect righteousness alone and who possessed good family conduct, is wrecked by you. Even kings belonging to your ancestral race were great people. How has this contemptible stupidity of mind born in you? Oh, woman with evil designs! I for one will not fulfill your desire. A criminal act, which may cause even an end to my life, has been undertaken by you. Now itself I will go and bring back from the forest, my brother, who is a faultless man and a beloved man of his people. Bringing back Rama with a very firm mind, I will become a servant to him, who is radiant with glory."
           Not satisfied with the rebuke, Bharata continued  "Oh, Kaikeyi! The cruel and evil-mannered woman! Get lost from this kingdom. You having shed down righteousness, remain lamenting about me, who will be dead soon. What harm king Dasharatha or the highly righteous Rama has done to you so harshly that Dasharatha's death and Rama's exile have occurred about the same time because of you? Oh, Kaikeyi! Go to hell. Do not get the residence in the same heaven as your husband. You have done this horrendous act and committed such a great sin. By forsaking the persons beloved by all, an alarm has been created in me also. My father died and Rama is dwelling in a forest, because of you. You got me ill fame. Though in appearance you are my mother, you are inimical to me. You are a cruel woman, greedy of kingdom. With evil conduct, you killed your husband. I should never speak to you, again. Kausalya, Sumitra and my other mothers are engrossed in a great misfortune, by falling victim to you, who brought disgrace to our family. The righteous Rama, who is forever devoted to truth, was sent to the forest. Due to the grief for his son, my father went to heaven. You do not seem to be the daughter of Aswapati, the pious and sensible king. You were born there as a demoness  to destroy the house of my father. The aforesaid sin you have committed has made me fatherless. Besides, I have been abandoned by my brothers and all the people dislike me now. Oh, woman having evil desires, moving towards hell! Which world will you attain now, after making Kausalya  deprived of her son? Don't you know that Rama, the son of Kausalya is a subdued man, who is devoted to his relatives and as the eldest brother, equal to a father? A son is the most beloved to his mother as he is born from the primary and secondary limbs of her body and also from her heart. The other relatives are only like friends. Once upon a time the divine cow of Vashista viz. Kamadhenu who knew righteousness and was worshipped by celestials, is said to have seen a couple of her sons drawing a heavy burden on earth and became unconscious. Seeing her sons (a pair of bullocks) fatigued, after toiling for half a part of their day on earth, Kamadhenu the divine cow cried silently with her eyes full of tears in grief for the fate of her sons. Small and sweet smelling tear drops of that cow fell on the limbs of Indra the lord of celestials, who was traveling below in a lower region. Seeing and feeling those sweet  smelling tears on his limbs, Indra, the Lord of the celestials recognized them as the tears of the great Kamadhenu. Looking up at the sky, Indra saw that Kamadhenu standing there with anguish and pitiably weeping with great grief.
         "Indra, seeing that beautiful Kamadhenu tormented with grief, asked her gently with joined palms 'Oh, cow the well wisher of all! I hope there is no great panic from any quarter to us. What is the reason for your sorrow?' Hearing the words of Indra, Kamadhenu replied 'Seeing these pair of bullocks, my sons, who are in hardship, being scorched by sun's rays, becoming weak, being troubled by the man who ploughs the land and being immersed in grief, I am pitiably weeping Oh, Indra!  By seeing them who are afflicted with the burden and aggrieved, I am greatly anguished. They are indeed born of my body. There is no dearest one equal to a son indeed!'
          "Seeing the weeping of such a sacred cow, whose thousands of sons pervaded the entire world, Indra reckoned that none whosoever is more dear than a son to a mother. 
          "Even Kamadhenu, the sacred cow, having unequaled behavior, and to whom there are thousands of sons, was lamenting, how much more indeed Kausalya will drag her existence, without Rama?  She, who is a holy woman, has only one son, has now been made without a child by you. Thereafter, you will obtain grief forever after your death or even here while living. I for my part, shall toil for the complete reinstatement of my brother and complete the obsequial rites due to my father. There is no doubt Rama, the son of Kausalya, will be brought back to Ayodhya and I, myself will go to the forest inhabited by the sages. Oh, wretched and evil minded woman! By seeing the sorrow stricken citizens, I am indeed not able to bear the inequity done by you. As for you, enter the fire or you yourself go to the forest of Dandaka or fasten a rope around your neck and hang yourself. There is no other recourse for you. Only after Rama obtains his native land, I will become an accomplished man, with my sins duly washed away."
         As an elephant in a forest pricked with a javelin and a goad and as a hissing serpent, Bharata was enraged. His eyes inflamed, his clothes in disarray, and his all ornaments discarded, Bharata lay on the earth.

Tuesday, 13 August 2013

68. The King is dead. Long live the King.

          The morning chores started at dawn. The first one, in those days was the awakening the king. Accordingly highly cultured and excellently learned bards as well as singers and panegyrists uttering recitations in different styles arrived to awaken the king. Their sounds of praises, uttering benedictions in a loud voice and pronouncing accolades of the king pervaded in full the interior area of the palace. While the bards are uttering praises eulogizing the glorious acts of Dasharatha, others who make a bang of claps, patted the claps. The birds dwelling in royal palaces perched on the branches of the trees and others in cages were awakened by that sound and began to twitter. The auspicious words uttered by the bards, the chirps of parrots etc. and the notes of Vina as well as the blissfully melodious songs filled that palace. Those who were skilled in the various personal services to the king, most of whom were women and eunuchs, also arrived there to serve the king. Those who took care of royal ablutions brought water sprinkled with yellow sandal in golden pitchers in accordance with the set procedures. Young women, most of whom were virgins, in the employment of the king for similar purpose brought all that were pleasing to the eyes, eatables, decorative clothing and ornaments.
            All that was brought near the king was endowed with all the auspicious characteristics stipulated in the prescribed scriptures. All that was extremely graceful. On that day all the retinue felt that something was amiss and as such without coming near the king and with an anxiety as to what it was , stayed outside. The women who were empowered to go near the bed of Dasharatha went in close proximity of him and tried to wake him up. Those modest and prudent women with proper conduct, touched Dasharatha and could not detect any sign of life whatsoever in him. Those women knew the condition of a body in sleep, by its gestures, movements etc. They became certain that the king was NOT asleep. Overpowered by grief for their sons, the slumbering Kausalya and Sumitra did not wake up, as though they were completely overtaken by death. Kausalya bereft of luster, pale faced, emaciated with grief and dispirited, did not shine her usual brightness. The queen Kausalya, immediately close to the king and with Sumitra on her side, was not having her usual shining, but a face ruffled by tears of grief. The persons in the gynaecium, having seen those distinguished queens in slumber and also the king in that manner, guessed that the king had passed away in sleep. Then, those pretty women started crying.  Kausalya and Sumitra woke up by the noise of their cries. Then they on seeing and touching king Dasharatha, cried 'O, Lord!' and fell on the ground. Kaikeyi and all other wives of the king Dasharatha, on hearing the cries, rushed in and seeing the king without life started crying.  
           Kausalya could not bear the sudden demise of her husband which followed the exile of her dear son. To vent her anger and grief, she started to rile Kaikey, the root cause for her twin misery by "Oh! Kaikeyi the cruel and evil shrew! Are you happy now, as all your desires are fulfilled? Without the king, you can enjoy the kingdom undisturbed and without any hindrance. Rama has left me and gone to the forest. My husband, too has left for heaven. I do not wish to live. Which woman would wish to survive, leaving her husband who was divine, except Kaikeyi who kicked off righteousness? Instigated by that hunchbacked witch you have ruined the prestigious name of the Raghu dynasty. On hearing that Rama along with his wife has been sent to exile by the king who was coerced by you to do this unworthy act, Janaka will profusely lament as I do. Oh! My dear son Rama who is acclaimed as the most pious man, and who has disappeared from here even though living, now does not know that I have become a supportless widow. Seetha, the daughter of the king of Videha, will get frightened with grief in the forest as and when she comes to know about the sad demise of the king and the condition to which I have been pushed thereby. Greatly alarmed to hear the fearful cries of wild animals and birds making their noises in nights, surely she will cling herself to Rama. Janaka too is aged, and  is not having any son, will be thinking of Seetha, overwhelmed with grief and will surely abandon his life. Today itself, I too in devotion to my husband, will meet my appointed end. I shall enter the fire, duly embracing this body of my husband."
          The chamberlains reverently removed from that place the unfortunate Kausalya, who was in excess grief and was closely embracing her dead husband. The ministers got the body of the king in an oil trough and got done all the acts that were to be done thereafter. The ministers who were knowing all such matters were not willing to do the cremation of the king in the absence of any of his sons and that is why preserved the king's body in an oil trough. The friends and relatives of the king, too did not like the cremation in the absence of his sons. Seeing that the king was laid down in an oil through all women in the gynaacium cried "Alas! He is dead!" and followed it by series of lamentations.
          Brahmins Markandeya, Moudgalya, Vamadeva, Kasyapa, Katyayana, Goutama and the greatly famous Jabali together with the ministers addressed the royal priest Vasishta "Sir,The King Dasharatha departed to heaven. Rama, his eldest son took retreat in a forest. Lakshmana followed suit. Both Bharata and Shatrughna are encamped in Bharata's maternal uncle's place in the city of Rajagriha in the kingdom of Kekaya. Hence, we suggest that any one here from the Ikshvaku dynasty be made the king today itself so that our nation is not without a king for obvious reasons." 
         Vasistha did not agree to their suggestion. He said
"Bharata, who was given the kingdom by Dasharatha is staying very happily in his maternal uncle's home, along with Shatrughna. Hence messengers in fast running horses are to be sent to bring back quickly those brothers. Have you any better suggestion?"
        All of them totally agreed with the proposed course of action. Vasishtha then called the messengers and told them "Hear very carefully what I am telling you. Take the best horses available and reach the city of Rajagriha very, very quickly. Without showing your grief, convey Bharata my orders that 'The royal priest and the ministers are inquiring about your welfare. Come forth, by starting pronto. There is a very urgent work with you.'  After going there, do not tell him that Rama has gone to exile or that his father is dead. Go quickly, taking silk clothes and excellent ornaments etc. to the king and his son."
        The messengers, as ordered by Vasishtha started very quickly and reached safely and as quickly as possible, the city of Rajagriha
        The night before the messengers were approaching the city, Bharata had a very unpleasant dream which made him highly perturbed. Seeing Bharata in such a bad mood, his friends there arranged recitation of stories in the palace to cheer him up. Some played musical instruments for bringing about peacefulness. Likewise some others arranged for exhibition of dramas and some others told various types of jokes. But none of the efforts yielded the desired effect; Bharata continued to be apprehensive thinking about the nightmare he had.

          Bharata told his friends "Friends! I had a very dreadful dream in which my father with his soiled body and with his hair disheveled, was falling from the top of a mountain into a polluted pond defiled with cow dung. I saw him floating in that pond, drinking something looking like oil, through his hollowed palms and laughing again and again. Thereafter, having eaten cooked rice mixed with sesame seeds repeatedly, with his head bent down and with his whole body smeared with oil, he plunged into the oil itself. I saw in the dream, the ocean dry up, the moon fall on the ground, the earth molested as if covered by darkness, a tusk of an elephant (on which the monarch rode) broken to pieces, a blazing fire suddenly extinguished, the earth riven, trees dry up, and the mountains whirl up into a mist. I saw my father in the dream, wearing black clothes, sitting on a stool made of iron and women with black and reddish brown complexion deriding the king. My father, the virtuous man, adorned with red garlands and his body besmeared with sandal paste and seated in a chariot drawn by asses, proceeded hurriedly towards the south. I saw an ugly faced female demon, wearing red colored clothes, laughingly dragging away the king. I wonder whether the dream means that I myself or the king or Lakshmana would die. If, in a dream, a person sees a man going in a chariot, yoked with donkeys, the smoke of a funeral pyre will soon be seen ascending from him. For this reason, I have become apprehensive. Hence, I am not able to respond to your efforts to cheer me up. My throat seems to be drying up. My mind is not at ease. I do not see the root cause of this fear. But I am experiencing a fear indeed.  My voice is choked. My luster is affected.  I abhor myself and I do not see a reason for it. That great fear is not going away from my heart, having seen such a bad dream in varied forms and I never had such kind of dream earlier and also reflecting on that inconceivable sight of the king."

            While Bharata was explaining the reason for his concern, the messengers entered the beautiful city Rajagriha and met the king Kekeya and the prince Yudhajit, who received them hospitably. Learning that the messengers had come to convey some urgent message to Bharatha from Vasistha, they were taken to Bharatha. They told Bharata "Vasistha, the Raja guru and all the ministers were asking about your welfare. They want you to return immediately to Ayodhya. There is an urgent work for you. Sir, these very valuable clothes and jewels are for your maternal uncle. In these(other set of boxes) are jewels and clothes that are to be given to the king Kekeya."
          Bharata, who had a great affection for his relatives, took all that, honored the messengers suitably with gifts of their liking and told them "I hope that king Dasharatha, my father is quite safe. I also hope that Rama and Lakshmana are well.  Is Kausalya, the mother of Rama also well?  I hope that Sumitra, the mother of Lakshmana as well as the heroic Shatrughna and our middle mother, is well.  Is Kaikeyi, who loves herself, a forever a fiery lady of wrathful nature, who prides herself to be highly intelligent and my mother, also well?  What did she say?"
         The messengers politely informed Bharatha that all were well and added that the chariot for his journey back to Ayodhya was ready and requested him to start immediately.
         Bharata smiled and told the messengers "I will get permission from the monarch to leave for Ayodhya saying that the messengers are hastening me up."
        Permission was duly granted and Aswapati, the king and grandpa of Bharata sent some dear, reliable etc. attendants to accompany Bharata for his return journey. Yuddhajit, his maternal uncle gave him as gifts, elephants of Airavata race born in Indrasira mountain-range and which were charming to behold as well as mules which could walk quickly and were well trained. He gave as a gift, large bodied dogs, which were well nourished in the gynaeceum  possessing the strength and vitality of a tiger. The wealth of gifts bestowed by the king Kekeya did not rejoice Bharata, who was then in a hurry to go. Due to the goading of the messengers and visualization of the dream, a very big worry was squeezing his heart. Bharata, augmented with men, elephants and horses started and quickly entered the excellent royal high way. More than hundred chariots, boxes variegated with jewels yoked to camels, bullocks, horses and mules and numerous servants followed Bharata.

           The route Bharata and his entourage drove was a different one from the route the messengers had taken from Ayodhya to Rajagriha. This is a longer route and it took one complete week for Bharata to reach Ayodhya. It was dawn when Bharata entered the city of Ayodhya, which was built by the King Manu. Bharata felt something odd while passing through the streets of Ayodhya. Bharata  remarked "O, Charioteer! The famous city of Ayodhya looked like a heap of white clay to me from a distance. I very well remember that it had beautiful gardens. It was filled with performers of sacrifices and with people endowed with good qualities as well as well versed in the Vedas and with abundant brahmins.  It is being ruled by a royal sage. Before I left Ayodhya, big clattering voices of men and women used to be heard all round Ayodhya. Now, I am not hearing that voice. The parks which used to beam with men streaming forth on all sides. These parks look deserted by the lovers now. O, charioteer! To me, the city appears to have changed into a forest. Here, as before, important persons indeed are not seen going into the city or coming out of it in carriages or on horses or on elephants. Earlier parks used to be conspicuously excited with joy and gaiety and were most congenial for love contacts of men.  I am seeing the same parks today with lack of enjoyments on all sides and with trees having their leaves fallen along the road, looking like a picture of dismay. It is now dawn, but the charming sounds with sweet and much melodious tone of animals and birds intoxicated with happiness are not being heard. Why does, as before, pure and auspicious breeze laden with aloes and sandal wood intensified with the fume of burnt incense, not blow today? Why the sounds of kettledrums, clay tomtoms and Vinas played upon with drum-sticks or palms or fingers are not heard? Formerly they never ceased at any time. I perceive various kinds of evil, sinful and silly omens and by this, my mind is dejected. O, charioteer!  It appears that something is amiss with my kinsfolk; and without any apparent reason my spirit is cast down."
          When Bharata entered the city of Ayodhya, he was despondent, distressed in mind, frightened and extremely apprehensive. When he passed through the Vaijayanta gate he was greeted with slogans of victory by the standing gatekeepers. Without any explanation or reason, he was becoming more and more anxious. As he did not know whom to ask, he asked the charioteer "Oh, charioteer! Why have I been brought so hurriedly without any explanation? My mind is apprehending some evil. All my energy seem to be dwindling. Whatever things were heard in respect of ruin of kings, I am seeing here all those signs. I am seeing the family horses whose dirt is not swept away, doors wide open, bereft of splendor on all sides without any offerings being made, and with no incense burned. Families look starving and people look miserable. The temples of gods are deserted and have lost their radiance, with their splendor of floral decorations lost, nor are there any assemblage to perform sacrifices as before. Worships of the deities were placed aside. Assemblage of prayers are also not adorned with salable flowers and garlands today. Even traders seem to have lost interest in trading tie-ups and their minds are tied up in thoughts. They are not being seen here today, as before. Clusters of birds in temples and large trees in the city are looking desolate. The population of men and women in the city look thoughtful, anguished, weak, messy and despondent with their eyes brimming with tears."
           On entering the royal palace, Bharta noticed that the doors and hinges were covered with both dust and rust. Seeing many similar things disenchanted to mind which did not occur at any time before in the city, Bharata was overcome with grief and with his head bent down and with his mind miserable, gloomily entered his father's house.

Friday, 9 August 2013

67. Dasharatha - Sin and Retribution.

                 Then, Kausalya, shaking like a leaf, as though possessed by a spirit, and lying on the floor without proper disposition of mind, spoke to Sumantra in a feeble voice "Take me to Rama, Seetha and Lakshmana wherever they are.  Without them, I do not want to live here even for a moment. Take me to the forest of Dandaka, now.  If I do not go to them, I shall enter the Death's abode."
       Sumantra tried to console her by saying "Abandon grief, delusion and haste born of affliction.  Rama can reside in the forest, warding off anguish. Lakshmana too, knowing all  about the righteous conduct, having subdued his senses and serving Rama in the forest does not show any anguish. Seetha, getting a dwelling place resembling a house in the forest, her mind encamped in Rama and being fearless, is acquiring confidence.  Not even a minute depression is seen developed in Seetha.  It appears that Seetha is taking the exile in her stride as if she is used to very many exiles.  Seetha is taking delight in the desolate forest in the same manner as she was earlier enjoying visiting gardens in the city.  Seetha seems to be enjoying the forest like a little girl. Seetha's heart is with Rama. Her life also is dependent on him. Ayodhya without Rama will be a forest to her.  She looked as if she was on an excursion only a couple of miles away from Ayodhya. On seeing villages, towns, movement of rivers, and various types of trees, etc., she enquires Rama or Lakshmana and learns well about them.  I am remembering only these incidents about Seetha. She did not mention anything about Kaikeyi."
         He continued "Seetha's radiance resembling a moon's gleam was not fading away due to her travel in the forest or due to the high velocity of wind or due to the heat of the sun. That face of the altruistic Seetha resembling a lotus flower, and her lustre similar to that of a full moon, did not become changed.  Her feet, which even though no longer painted with vermilion, still looks red as Alakta (red juice obtained from the resin of certain trees), with lustre equal to that of red lotus buds.  Seetha, sporting her tinkling anklets, walks playfully.  Even now, Seetha dons her ornaments, as a mark of her passion towards Rama.  Seetha, who stays in the forest, takes refuge in the arms of Rama and hence was not afraid of anything, including a wild elephant or a lion or a tiger. There is no need to pity them nor us nor the king. This story will thrive in the world forever. Abandoning grief, possessing cheerful minds, settling well in the path followed by great sages, delighted in and enjoying the forest-life and eating fruits of the forest, they are keeping up the promise given to the king."
         In spite of his best efforts to console Kausalya, Sumantra, speaking appropriately well, could not pacify her who was being emaciated by sorrow for her son, could not stop crying, "O, my dear son Rama!" like a parrot.
        On seeing that he could do nothing to abate the sorrow of the king and the queens, Sumantra silently slid out.
          Kausalya who could not contain her sorrow, was weeping and after sometime she was exhausted.   With tearful eyes, she started accusingly asking her husband "Despite the fame in the three worlds of your great glory that Dasharatha is compassionate, bountiful and kind in his words, how your two sons along with Seetha who grew comfortably from birth were sent by you to the forest without any valid reason? How can they, who were used to cosy living only, bear the suffering in the forest and face the numerous hardships?  Can Seetha, who is a young lady in the prime of her youth and very delicate, tolerate heat and cold?  How the large-eyed Seetha can eat a food prepared with wild rice, she having eaten here a good food containing soups and snacks?  How that irreproachable Seetha can hear without any scare the horrid sounds of cruel animals like lions, after hearing the auspicious sounds of singing and music here?  When can I see the face of Rama with the colour of a lotus, framed with marvelous locks of lotus-perfume, with eyes resembling lotus-petals and excellent? There is no doubt that my heart is fully made of the solid-interior of a diamond; otherwise it would have shattered into a thousand pieces.  It was not a kindly act by you that you banished my kith and kin, who are worthy of comforts to wander around in the forest.  When Rama comes back in the fifteenth year, it cannot be assumed that Bharata will relinquish the kingdom and the treasury. Even assuming that Bharata offers the kingdom to Rama on his return from exile, he (Rama), like a virtuous brahmin who does not accept any food, even as delicious as ambrosia, if the same is not offered to him first but was given the remains of the same after feeding to the relatives of the host, is not likely to accept anything (including the kingdom) which was enjoyed by someone else. Oblations, clarified butter, leavings of an offering, sacred grass and sacrificial posts made of trunk of Khadira tree, once used, are not put to use again in a sacrifice. Rama will not go through such a dishonour, as a tiger does not tolerate even a mere touch of its tail by anyone.  Even if all the worlds combine together in a great battle, they cannot stir up any fear in him.  The virtuous Rama will provide righteousness to the people with unrighteousness. Rama with great prowess and with his mighty arms can surely burn up all beings and even the ocean itself by his mighty arrows, like at the time of destruction of the world. That excellent lad with a lion's strength and with eyes like those of a bull was screwed up indeed by his own father, like killing its child-fish by the mother fish. A son, who is devoted to righteousness, has been sent to exile by you.  Is it a right thing for you, as seen by scriptures or is it an eternal conduct as practiced by the Twice born? Oh, king! A husband is the chief refuge for a woman.  Her next refuge is her son. The third refuge is her near-relative. There is no fourth one. Among those three refuges, you do not indeed exist.  Rama on his part took refuge in a forest and I do not wish to go there or to any relative.  Thus, I have been screwed up in all ways, by you. This kingdom along with neighboring states has been screwed up by you.  You yourself along with ministers have been screwed up.  I along with my son am screwed up.  Citizens too are screwed up.  Your son Bharata and your wife Kaikeyi only are delighted."
         Hearing Kausalya's cruel words, the king already being distressed became disillusioned, too.  Thereafter, looking back on his own evil act, the great Dasharata was entangled in an uncontrollable grief and lost his consciousness.  Thereafter, that king who was a torment to his enemies regained his consciousness after quite some time.  After regaining his consciousness, he breathed a long and hot sigh and seeing Kausalya by his side, began to worry again.  While he was brooding over, he recalled in his mind, a sinful deed that was done by him unintentionally, long ago, by shooting with an arrow an unseen object by just hearing the sound. The mighty emperor felt distressed through agony caused by that sinful deed and also through the agony caused by the separation from Rama and was tormented by the dual grief.
         That king, tormented by that affliction, was trembling. He bent his head down, joined his palms in salutation, desirous of getting her grace and addressed Kausalya "O, Kausalya! I seek your grace. You are always affectionate towards others and undoubtedly very kind.  For a woman intent on righteousness, her husband whether he is virtuous or worthless, is held as a visible god for her. You, who is ever intent on virtue, knows very well the vicissitudes of human lives in the world, even if grief-stricken, ought not to have spoken such unpleasant and cruel words to me, who is too much in distress." 
           Hearing those miserable words spoken by the very distressed king, Kausalya shed tears, akin to new rain water flowing from a channel.  Kausalya was scared that her harsh words spoken in a hurry without thinking may affect the king very seriously.   She told the king sobbing and in a pacifying manner "Oh! My dear!  I appeal to you with my bowed head. I lie prostrate on the floor. I was so distressed and did not know what I was talking. I entirely agree that it does not qualify me for uttering such things.  In both the worlds, it is ill-becoming of a woman, being propitiated by her husband, who is praise worthy and possessing good disposition, to use harsh words to her husband. Grief ruins courage.  Grief ruins sacred learning, grief ruins everything.  There is no enemy like grief.  A physical blow from an enemy can be tolerated, but it is not possible to withstand even a very small grief suddenly descended.  Even ascetics, who know righteousness, who have learnt sacred texts and who have rent asunder doubts relating to religious merits and wealth, go astray having their minds gripped with grief. Today it is counted as five days since Rama has gone to exile.  It is equal to five years for me, since grief has ruined my happiness. While I think of Rama, this grief in my heart becomes more intense, like water in a great ocean raises with the fast streaming of rivers."
        The consoling words of Kausalya cheered Dasharatha to some extent and he fell into a slumber due to exhaustion.
It was the sixth night at mid-night after Rama was sent into exile to the forest. The worried king could not, however sleep for long.  He woke up after some time, with his mind afflicted with grief, and got into an anxious thinking. The banishing of Rama was a great calamity for Dasharatha who was equal in strength to Indra. As the leaden hours crept slowly on, Dasharatha could not stop thinking about something very bad that had happened long ago and it aggravated the anguish of his heart. He felt an urge in his heart that he should share that awful incident with Kausalya.  He, therefore, turned to Kausalya and said "Are you still here, my dear? The fruit of one's action can never be escaped. I now endure the result of a great sin that I committed in the days that are gone. Men in their ignorance sometimes do great evils for the sake of some slight momentary pleasure. Then when the time comes, the price has to be paid. I acquired the skill to use my bow and arrow against unseen targets by merely hearing the sound, when I was quite young. For the pleasure of exercising this skill, I once inadvertently killed an innocent man and thereby committed a great sin. Now I want to share with you that sad misadventure. It was before you came to me. One night I went out in my chariot to hunt on the banks of the Sarayu. It had been raining heavily and from the mountainsides the streams were running dyed with the rich colors of minerals and fresh soil. The birds were silent. The forest seemed asleep. I could take the aim by the ear and shoot, without seeing, anything that might come to slake its thirst in the stream. It was dense darkness. I waited for some wild animal to come. Then I heard a gurgling sound as of an elephant drinking water. At once I aimed an arrow in the direction and shot. Like a venomous serpent, swish went my dart and hit the object. But I was shocked to hear a human voice exclaiming 'Alas! I am dead!' I heard the man cry again piteously 'Who can be my enemy? Never have I done any harm to anyone. Who then could want to kill me thus as I was filling my pitcher with water? What could he gain by this? Why should anyone bear hate against one living his innocent hermit life in the forest? What is to happen to my old blind parents now, with none to look after them? O, misery!' Horror-struck, I stood trembling in every limb. My bow slipped from my hands. I approached the place from where the voice came and found a young ascetic lying on the ground with disheveled hair, covered all over with blood and sand. Beside him lay an upturned pitcher. The look of his eyes was as fire. When he saw me, he cried, 'O, Sinner, you have killed me! Why did you aim your arrow at me who was taking water from the stream? My old blind parents are thirsty and are waiting for me in the ashrama, thinking that I would return with water in the pitcher for them to drink.
         'I do not worry that much of my death. I worry for both my mother and father. How they can live without me, as they are very old and blind.'
          "I was absolutely aghast. I stood terrified and sick in mind. He continued  'O, king!  By killing me, you have virtually killed both my parents, who are blind and aged. Both of them, weak blind and thirsty, must have contained their thirst with difficulty and waited with expectation of my arrival since long.  I am sure.  Please therefore, immediately go to them and tell them what you have done to me, so that my father will not scorch you by his anger. This foot-path will lead you to my father's hermitage. After going there, seek his graciousness, lest he should get angry and curse you. Before you go, please extract this arrow-head from my body. This sharp arrow torments me terribly.’
            “I was hesitating to extract the arrow as he was likely to die immediately when the arrow is extracted from his body; otherwise he may live.  Seeing my hesitation he said 'Yes! I may die if the arrow is removed from by body; but I simply could not bear the pain it is causing me.  If you are thinking that you have killed a Brahmana, let me tell you that I am not a Brahmana.  Let there be no agony in your mind in this regard.  I am born through a Sudra woman by a Vysya.’
          "With a heavy heart I drew out that arrow from him. That sage looked up towards me in pain and fear (of death) and relinquished his life.  O, my dear Kausalya!  Seeing his dead body drenched in water, his face contorted by the pain caused by the arrow, lying down inert on the ford of the River Sarayu, I became very much grief-stricken.”
              After a pause the King Dasharatha continued " I was absolutely nonplussed in seeing the dead body of the young sage whose death was caused by me. Though I did that great sin inadvertently, my senses were confounded and I being alone, I thought of using my reason of what best can be done. Taking water fully in that pitcher, I went to that hermitage by the path as indicated by the young sage. There I saw the frail, blind and aged parents of the young sage. They were without any guide to support them, as birds whose wings were cut-off. Hearing the sound of my foot-steps, that sage hailed 'Oh!, son! Why are you so late? Give me some water quickly.  Your mother is unhappy in your playing in the water in this manner.  We being helpless, you are our only refuge.  We being blind, you are our eyes.  Our lives are encircled around you.  Why are you not talking?' I was really very scared to see that ascetic.  I spoke to him in a tone which was indistinct, inarticulate and without some consonants.   With a great difficulty I set aside the fear in my mind and I started telling him of his son's death.  I said 'I am Dasharatha, belonging to a warrior- class.  I am not your son.' 
        "After pausing a moment to recover from the scare I felt, I continued 'Oh! venerable sage! I came to the bank of Sarayu River for hunting a wild elephant or some other animal like tiger which may come for drinking water. Then when I heard the sound of an elephant drinking water from the river I, without seeing hit it with an arrow.  I learned the ability to hit an object with an arrow by hearing the sound alone. When I heard the cry of a human voice in pain, I rushed and saw an ascetic lying on the ground, with the arrow pierced into his heart. I learned from him that it was your son. At his request I took out the arrow  from his vital part. Soon after taking out the arrow, he was very much concerned about your wife and yourself, lamenting that you were blind. Before dying he told me where to find you two. Unknowingly and unexpectedly and unfortunately your son was killed by me. Sir, please command me what I should do now.'
          "Hearing that cruel confession from me, that venerable sage could not control his severe anger. That sage with great splendor, whose face was filled with tears and troubled by sorrow, said 'If you have not told me about this shameful deed yourself, Oh! king, your head would have burst instantly into a hundred thousand pieces. A premeditated killing by a warrior and in particular of a hermit, would expel even Indra from his post.  It has been ordained that the head of the killer in such cases would burst into several pieces. Your head is still in one piece because you have done it unknowingly. Not only you, but the entire Ikshvaaku dynasty would have gone into obscurity and disappear from the face of the earth, if it is otherwise.  
        'Oh, king! Now we want to feel the body of our son drenched in blood.  Take both of us to that place.' 
         "Taking both of them, who were weeping profusely, to that place, and made that sage and his wife to touch the body of their son.  The miserable couple touched their son's body and fell on it. Then, the father cried 'My dear boy! You are not offering salutation to me, nor do you talk to me. Why are you sleeping on the floor?  Are you angry?  Am I not beloved to you? Otherwise, see your mother.  Why are you not embracing us, my son?  Utter some words.  Whose sweet and heart touching voice, reciting one sacred text or the other, in particular at the end of the night, shall I hear from now?  Oh, son! Who after taking bath, worshiping the goddess of dawn, and offering oblations in fire, will be sitting beside me and talking confidently looking at me, as I was afflicted with grief and fear?  Who will feed me, like a beloved guest is fed, with roots and fruits while I am sitting without any work, without fetching anything and without having any guide making me to walk?  How can I support your mother, who is blind, aged and a poor woman in a pitiable condition, longing for her son? Oh, son! Come to a halt.  Do not go to Yama's abode.  You can proceed tomorrow with me and with your mother.  Bereft of you, afflicted with grief, without any protection in the forest and poor, both of us also will come along with you to Yama's abode.
           'Thereafter, seeing Yama, I shall tell him. 'O, Yama! Excuse me. Let this boy nourish his parents. The most glorious and high souled Yama, the guardian of the world will be obliged to give this solitary imperishable boon in the form of fearlessness to me. Oh! son! This criminal killed you.  As it is true that you were sinless, you will soon obtain the realms as reached by those who die fighting with weapons. Move on to that which is the highest state, which is obtained by warriors, who do not return even while being killed, from the direction facing their enemies in battles. Obtain the destiny which was obtained by Sagara, Saibya, Dilipa, Janamejeya, Nahusha and Dundumara.  Obtain that destiny, which is obtained by all the sages, by those who studied scriptures, by an act of austerity, by a gift of the land, by him who has maintained sacred fire, who has taken a vow of marrying a single wife, who gifts a thousand cows, who are owed to the service of the preceptor and that which is obtained by those who have abandoned their body (by journeying to Himalayan Mountains, or drowning themselves in water or leaping into the flames). The one born in the race of sages will not obtain an unsafe destiny. The person, who killed you, my son, will obtain a very bad destiny.'
            "The sage was thus ranting and raving there pitiably. Then he, along with his wife, started the ceremony of offering water to his demised son.  The pious son of the sage on his part, soon seen ascending the Heaven, wearing a wonderful form along with Indra, the king of celestials, as a result of his own pious acts.  That son of the sage who was together with Indra, talked to his parents. In conclusion he told his parents 'I obtained this supreme state because of my service to both of you. You will also come to my vicinity, very soon'. The son of the sage, whose senses were subdued, thus spoke and by a wonderful aeroplane with a beautiful form, quickly reached Heaven. That ascetic with great splendor along with his wife soon performed the ceremony offering water to his dead son and spoke to me, who was standing near him with folded hands. 'Oh! king! You have made me without a son, by killing my one and the only son. I am suffering from agony because of the loss of my son. I curse you that in the same manner you will also die due to the agony caused by the loss of your son.'
          "After pronouncing the curse, that couple wept and wept pitiably, fell down inert and proceeded to heaven.  Oh! Kausalya! The sin I  committed through inadvertence on that day, by hitting an invisible object by hearing the sound alone, I remember it now on reflection over it.  As a disease comes sometime after eating a nutriment mixed with forbidden things, this present occurrence came as a result of the sinful act by me long ago. Oh! my dear lady! Those words of that noble sage, saying that I shall end my life due to grief for the loss of my son, have come true to me now.  I am not able to see you with my eyes. Touch me well."
         King Dasharatha, terribly weeping continued "Oh! queen! The wrong that was done by me in respect of Rama was not befitting of me.  But the good that was done by Rama in my case was worthy only of him.  Which wise man on this earth can abandon his son, even if he is of a bad conduct?  Which son, even if he is sent to an exile, cannot become angry with his father?  Can Rama now touch me or approach me forth with?  Men who attained the world of Yama (god of death) cannot even see their kith and kin.  I am not able to see you with my eyes.  My memory- power is fading away.  Messengers of Yama (god of death) are hastening me to come.  What can be more sorrowful than the fact I am not able to see Rama, who knows righteousness and who is a truly a brave man, at the time of my death? The grief arising out of non-appearance of that son, who performs unparalleled actions, is parching up my life, as sun- shine dries up a water drop.  The fortunate can see the face of Rama, looking like a moon, with the eyes resembling lotus leaves, with beautiful eye brows, with a comely row of teeth and a charming nose.  Fortunate are they, who can see the sweet smiling face of Rama, resembling the autumnal moon and also a full- blown lotus.  Happy ones can see Rama, who having finished his exile, would be coming to Ayodhya like the planet Venus coming from a journey. Oh! Kausalya! My heart is sinking down by delusion of mind.  I am not able to grasp the related sound, touch and the smell.  All of my senses are getting scared away due to mental break down, as rays of light of a lamp whose oil is exhausted, starts splattering.  This grief caused by my own self is collapsing me, who is helpless and insensible, like a river bank being collapsed by the floods of a river stream.  O, mighty armed! O, Rama! O, annihilator of my grief! Alas! O, darling of your father! O, my protector! O, my son! Where have you gone? O, Kausalya! O, Sumitra, O, Kaikeyi, the cruel one! My enemy! The disgrace of my family! I am going to die."
          King Dasharatha weeping and ranting thus, reached the end of his life in the presence of Kausalya and Sumitra. King Dasharatha of noble appearance, who was already miserable and distressed for sending his son to exile, felt afflicted with extreme grief, heaved his last breath shortly after midnight.