Shatashloki 40: King Dasharatha’s agony

Devagandharva-sankāśhāḥ tatra te nyavasan sukham

Chitrakūṭam gate rāme putŗ sokātura statha.

Meaning- Akin to the celestials known as Devagandharvas, Rama, Lakshmana and Seeta were spending their time happily in Chitrakuta. Back in Ayodhya however, Dasharatha was in deep agony and was grieving from pangs of separation from Rama.

Chitrakuta Mountain was the residence for various flocks of birds that chirped melodiously. Varied types of strange and unique creepers and plants with multi coloured flowers brightened the entire forest. At a distance, sounds of the wild animals could be heard. The pure waters of the River Malyavati flowed nearby. Rama, Lakshmana and Seeta would bathe in the cool waters of this river. Cool pure breeze blew into their thatched hut. Taking delight in all these natural wondrous settings, the three of them spent their days happily. Rama and Seeta would walk through the forests, admiring and enjoying the natural beauty at every step. Thus, like Devagandharvas they spent all their time happily in this forest.

Sumantra, whom Rama had left behind at Sringiberapuram, did not return to Ayodhya immediately after Rama’s departure from that place. Instead he remained there and got periodic updates about Rama’s progress in his journey. After learning that they reached Chitrakuta, he dejectedly boarded the empty chariot and in great shame, retraced his way back to Ayodhya.

Seeing the empty chariot, the residents of Ayodhya wept loudly and scolded Sumantra for coming back all alone. The entire city was joyless. This increased Sumantra’s anguish. Unable to show his face to them, in despair he quickly rode towards the Dasharatha’s palace. He approached the ailing king and passed on Rama’s message to him.

Dasharatha swooned completely upon hearing this news. Recovering after some time, he once again enquired from Sumantra, Rama’s whereabouts. Sumantra, choked with tears, slowly replied, “Rama and Lakshmana changed into an attire that is commonly worn by sages. They crossed River Ganga and walked towards Sage Bharadwaja’s ashram. With the hope that they may change their mind, and return, I stayed there with Guha for a few days. However, through Guha’s spies we learnt that upon Sage Bharadwaja’s advice proceeded towards Chitrakuta Mountain”.


The grieving king said, “Sumantra, I have acted based on the words of a woman. I have committed a grave mistake by not consulting my ministers and well-wishers before coming to this decision. Sumantra, if you believe that I have ever helped you in any way in the past, then please do me a favor. Take me to Rama. Now that you know where he resides, please take me to him”.

No doubt Dasharatha was a king, but in the present mental condition, he was in no position to issue any command even to his minister Sumantra. Thus he continued to beg and plead with Sumantra. He continued, “Sumantra please either take me to him or please go back and bring him to me. I do not think I will live any longer. Without my Rama, I cannot live. I do not know how deep into the forests they may have reached by now. Please take me in the chariot. If I see them, I think I will live longer. I am sinking. Sumantra, I do not think that I will live longer. Please help me. Without my Rama, Seeta and Lakshmana I cannot live any longer.”

In this manner, every moment he thought of them. He grieved and lamented at this loss and kept swooning periodically. Whenever he came back to consciousness, his thoughts were entirely focused on Rama. He would say, “Of what use is this life without Rama? Oh Rama, Lakshmana and Seeta, your absence will take my life. It’s all over for me. I am going away”. So saying, he would once again swoon. When he would awaken he would say, “I am leaving this world Rama, without seeing you again. Without you, what is the meaning of this life? Apart from you, who else is there for me Oh Rama? I am a great sinner, Rama”.

In this way, father Dasharatha agonized and grieved piteously for his sons and his daughter-in-law.


Om Seeta Ramabhyaam namaha.

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