Shatashloki 32: Rama decides to leave immediately for the forests.

Sa jagāma vanaṃ vīraḥ pratijnā manupālayan

Piturvacana nirdeśāt kaikeyyāḥ priyakāraṇāt.

Meaning- To bring about happiness to his mother Kaikeyi, the valorous hero Rama, took up his father’s words as a command and in order to fulfill them, immediately left for the forest.

Time and tide wait for no man. Night passed away and morning dawned. It was the day on which Rama had to be ceremoniously appointed the crown-prince of the land. All arrangements were completed and the city wore a festive look. Recital of Vedic hymns and of the auspicious musical renderings could be heard. People thronged in thousands to witness the coronation ceremony. All the royal paths were filled with people. Maharishi Vashistha together with his disciples bathed in the River Sarayu and arrived at the court. Vashistha summoned Sumantra and asked him to fetch the king, who had not yet arrived.

When Sumantra arrived at the palace of Kaikeyi, Dasharatha told him, “Go and fetch Rama to this place. This is my order”. Sumantra approached Rama and informed him of the king’s order. The next moment Rama set out to meet the king. When he approached the doorway, he found Lakshmana waiting for him with folded hands. Lakshmana walked behind Rama, who was on his way to meet the king.

Rama reached the quarters of Mother Kaikeyi. He went into the room where Dasharatha was lying down and offered his reverential obeisance to his father. He also offered namaskara to Kaikeyi’s feet. Dasharatha could not utter any thing apart from the word ‘Rama’.

Rama shuddered seeing the plight of his father. He was totally frightened and overcome with grief. He turned towards Kaikeyi and said, “O Mother, it appears as if my father is deeply perturbed. Did I commit any mistake? Is he not in good health? What is he thinking about? O mother, please tell me what the king seeks. I pledge that I will fulfill whatever he seeks”.

Heartlessly and shamelessly Kaikeyi began to speak, “Long ago your father had give me two boons. As the first boon I have sought that you should be exiled to the forests for 14 years. As the second boon I have asked that my son Bharata should be crowned the king. Now it is in your hands to fulfill your father’s vow of truthfulness”.

Upon hearing this, Rama did not grieve. He remained absolutely unperturbed. Feelings of hatred, anger or irritation were not visible in him. He was neither smiling nor laughing, neither surprised nor shocked. He remained like a statue.

His father had not commanded him to leave for the forests. It was his mother who had done so. Rama did not even discuss about it. He did not pick faults in it. He silently accepted it as their command. He had already decided to honour the command at any cost. This was his greatness. More importantly, he sought to see the delight and happiness in the face of his mother Kaikeyi.

Rama replied, “Mother, I stand by the command of my father. I will obey it. Wearing the tree barks and braided locks I shall leave for the forest to live there. For the sake of my brother Bharata, I can give away not just this kingdom, but also my life. Please ask Bharata to return. He should be crowned as the king upon his arrival”.

Kaikeyi was overjoyed. Dasharatha turned pale. Overwhelmed with sorrow, he fainted. Rama hurried to leave for the forest. While leaving, he said to Kaikeyi, “Dear Mother, these riches mean nothing to me. I live by dharma. I will fulfill my father’s command. Even though it was you who commanded, I respect it and accept that it was his command.  I believe that both of you would have come to a consensus on this issue and then commanded me. I shall live in the forest for 14 years. This day itself I will leave for Dandakaranya (forest)”. He circumambulated his parents and left.


Om Seeta Ramabhyaam namaha.

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