श्रीराम जय राम जय जय राम, শ্ৰীৰাংজয়ৰাংজয়জয়ৰাং, শ্রীরাম জয় রাম জয় জয় রাম , શ્રીરામ જય રામ જયજય રામ, ಶ್ರೀರಾಮಜಯರಾಮಜಯಜಯರಾಮ, ശ്രിറാം ജയ് റാം ജയ്‌ ജയ് റാം, శ్రీరాంజయరాంజయజయరాం

Ramayan – Lesson 2


Lesson 2 – KING DASHARATHA

The first to be born in the universe was progenitor Lord Brahma. His son was Marichi. Marichi  son s Kashyapa. Kashyapa married Daksha  daughters like Diti and Aditi. He had twelve sons by Adithi Dhatru, Mitra, Aryama, Shukra, Varuna, Amsha, Bhaga, Vivaswantha, Pusha, Savitru, Twastru and Vishnu. These sons of Adithi came to be called the Adithyas.

Vivaswantha – one of these sons – was the Sun. His son was Manu. Because he was the son of Vivaswantha, he was called Vaivaswatha. He is now the supreme ruler of the entire world. That is why our epoch is known  Vaivaswatha manvanthara .

Manu had a daughter, Ila by name, and ten sons. One of them was Ikshwaku. A number of illustrious rulers like Kukshi, Vukukushi, Prithu, Trishanku, Bharata, Sagara, Dileepa, Bhagiratha, Kakutswa, Raghu, Ambarisha, Nabhaga, Yayathi and Aja ruled over Kosala – a kingdom – to the north of the Ganga.

Kosala was a vast kingdom. The capital Ayodhya, stood on the southern bank of the Sarayu, a tributary of the holy river Ganga. Ayodhya was built by the emperor Manu. It was twelve yojanas (a hundred and twenty miles) long and three yojanas (thirty miles) wide. Ayodhya means the inpregnable.

Ayodhya stood on a level site. There were seven- storied mansions on it. The roads were wide and there were lovely gardens and parks. There were also Vedic schools and schools where music and dancing were taught. The city also had play grounds and sports centres.

In Ayodhya shops were classified. Military weapons, machines useful in everyday life, articles of utility and gems and other precious stones were being sold in the shops. Drinking water was in plentiful supply. The city also had underground drainage. A very efficient system had been devised to keep the city clean.

Dasharatha was the ruler when the events of Ramayana took place. He was the son of king Aja and queen Indumathi. He was very truthful, valiant, righteous and well-versed in the Vedas and Vedangas.

Dashartha had an army comprising four wings of warriors on elephants and horses and in chariots and the infantry. The army had elephants of a variety of species like the Bhadra, the Mandra and the Mriga born in the Vindhyas and the Himalaya regions. There were elephants belonging to the same species as the Airawatha, the Pundarika, the Anjana, the Vamana, the Kumuda, the Pushpadanta, the Sarvabhouma and the Supratika of the heaven. There were also splendid steeds born in Kabhoja,

Panayu and the Sindhu desha. With an army so splendidly equipped the kingdom had no need to fear any enemies. The people were happy and lived in joy and comfort.

Dasharatha had eight ministers – Drishti, Jayantha, Vijaya, Siddhartha, Arthasadhaka, Ashoka, Mantra and Sumantra. Sumantra was the Prime Minister. The ministers were all intelligent and of unswerving dedication to the country. The wellbeing of the people was their sole concern. And they toiled day and night towards this goal.

There were a number of priests in the court of Dasharatha, like Vashista, Vamadeva, Suyajna, Jabali,

Kashyapa, Gautama, Markandeya, Dhirghayu and Kathyayana. Vashista and Vamadeva were the principal priests. These priests ensured the timely performance of sacrifices and other religious rites by the king so as to please the gods. They prayed to the gods for rains and plentiful crops in the right seasons. They also ensured that no one strayed from the path of virtue.

King Dasharatha had three wives. On the southern bank of the Ganga there was another kingdom, South Kosala. It was ruled by king Bhanumantha. His daughter, Kausalya Devi, was Dasharatha  first wife. The second was Sumithra Devi, the daughter of Suraraja, the king of Magadha. The third wife was Kaikeyi, the daughter of Ashwapathiraja, the king of Kekaya. They were the worthywives of the great king.

So king Dasharatha blessed with able ministers, sagacious priests, and worthy wives ruled wisely and well. He shone like Devendra, the king of Heavens. He had made Kosala the home of happiness and prosperity.

With all this, the king was unhappy, for he had no children. And he was ageing. Once Dasharatha desired to perform the Ashwamedha Yaga. He reasoned that the sacrifice would please the gods, and he could pray them to bless him with children. He consulted his priests and ministers. They were delighted. They said,   It is good to perform sacrifices, for, that strengthens righteousness in the world. Your desire will be fulfilled, and you will also attain salvation.

Then Sumanthra said, “Your Highness, Sage Vibhandaka has a son, Rishyashringa. He is a great rishi, a great ascetic. Once rains totally failed in the kingdom of Anga, and a terrible famine swept the land. The ministers advised the king, Romapada, to pray to Rishyashringa to visit his land, and the king brought him to his capital. The moment Rishyashringa stepped on Anga soil, heavy rains blessed the kingdom and the fields smiled again. The king gave his daughter Shantha in marriage to the sage and prevailed on him to stay in Anga. Your Highness, let Rishyashringa officiate at the sacrifice you are contemplating. Go to Angadesha and fetch the revered sage.

Dasharatha accordingly went to Angadesha, and met Romapada. He told him about the sacrifice he had planned, and requested Rishyashringa to officiate at it. Rishyahshringa gladly consented and came to Ayodhya with his wife Shantha.

When a ruler desired to perform the Ashwamedha, it was the custom for him to let a fine steed with auspicious signs roam freely. An army accompanied the steed to protect it. The rulers of any land which the horse entered greeted the animal respectfully, and conceded the might of the ruler performing Aswamedha, by offering tributes. But if any ruler checked the horse, the accompanying army had to fight with and overcome him, compel him to pay a tribute. And then they would lead the horse to another kingdom. Only such a conqueror of the world had the right to perform the Ashwamedha. Dasharatha sent forth his steed to roam at will.

The work of construction of a sacrificial hall started on the vast plains of the northern bank of the Sarayu. Engineers, painters and carpenters proficient in the task of making the paraphernalia of the sacrifice began to work. A vast hall rose on a high site. Lakhs of people could sit around the site and watch the proceedings. Engineers raised the sacrificial stake. A platform was constructed as prescribed in the shastras.

Huge lodges were built for the lakhs of people who would pour into the capital from all parts of the kingdom. Palatial residences rose for the kings who would come from other states. Stables, stores, community dining halls were also constructed. The workers also put up theatres, dancing halls and stalls for exhibitions, and sales. They provided wells for drinking water and other facilities. In short, they built a satellite town there.

Performing Ashwamedha yaga is a highly meritorious act. The object of sacrifice was the well-being of all men and women, and all living beings and plants and trees. It was therefore considered an equally meritorious act to participate in the sacrifice and render assistance. And so, as soon as the news of the intended Ashwamedha spread, rishis who were engaged in tapas in the regions of the Himalayas, the Vindhyas, the Aravali and other mountains, and in various forests, wended their way to Ayodhya. Lakhs of people hastened to Ayodhya to participate in the sacrifice. The Maharaja of Kekaya – the father-in-law of Dasharatha, Janaka – the king of Mithila, Dasharatha  friends King Romapada of Anga and the kings of Kashi, South Kosala, Magadha, Purvadesha, Dakshinadesha, Sindhu, Saurashtra and other realms, all arrived at Ayodhya to help Dasharatha. Ayodhya was, therefore, bursting with people. All the guests and visitors were appropriately accommodated and arrangements were made for proper hospitality.

The sacrificial horse wandered for a year and returned unchallenged. The sacrifice began on the northern bank of the Sarayu. Sage Rishyashringa officiated as the chief priest. Four priests were appointed to the important positions of the hotru, the adhwaryu, the udgatra and the Brahma.The Fire God was ritualistically worshipped and offerings made with grandeur.

Rishyashringa then guided Dasharatha in the performance of a sacrifice known as Putrakameshti, with all the rites. Accompanied by his wives, Dasharatha performed the sacrifice with great reverence. He gave away in charity to the poor innumerable cows, lands and wealth.

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At the end of the sacrifice ghee was poured into the holy fire. A shining divine messenger rose from the sacred fire. He carried a gold vessel. Dasharatha rose reverentially and bowed to him. The divine messenger said,Dasharatha, the gods are pleased with this sacrifice. Distribute the payasa( a sweet preparation) among your wives. Your wishes will be fulfilled. Dasharatha received the vessel and distributed the  payasa  among his wives. They received it with reverence.

All people were happy that the sacrifice had been duly rewarded. They congratulated Dasharatha and left for their homes. Dasharatha, too, was immensely happy.

A year passed. Kausalya gave birth to a son on the ninth day of the bright half of the month of chaitra in the afternoon under the star Punarvasu. The next day Kaikeyi gave birth to a son under the star Pushya. The same afternoon Sumihtra gave birth to twins, under the star Ashlesha.

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Joy filled the very air in Ayodhya. Everywhere their were rejoicing as people danced. Dasharatha  joy knew no bounds. He offered special worship in temples and had sweets distributed all over the city. He gave food, clothes and money in plenty in charity to the poor.

The four sons were given names. Kausalyas son was named Rama and Kaikeyi son Bharata; Sumitra sons were named Lakshmana and Shatrughna.

They were lovely children, all four. They were radiant. Their smiles were bewitching. Their mothers milk made them robust boys. Their lisping filled the palace with delight. Their parents rejoiced as they watched them at play. Day by day they grew more and more enchanting.

In course of time their education began. The children, who had been immersed in their games, now turned towards their lessons. They listened to their teachers with rapt attention. They learnt the Vedas and the Vedangas, and studied the shastras and history. They became masters of archery. They became experts in riding elephants and horses. They were brave and intelligent, and treasure-houses of admirable qualities.

The four brothers were bound by the strong ties of affection. Lakshmana was particularly bound to Rama. He ate and played and slept with Rama. His entire day was spent with him. Rama was equally attached to Lakshmana.And Bharata and Shatrugna were attached to each other just as Rama and Lakshmana were. They were never apart. And they were loving to one and all.

Rama was cynosure of all eyes. He was reverential towards elders and affectionate towards youngsters. He was very intelligent, but totally free from vanity. Never did he raise his voice. He never lost his patience; but he never failed to punish those who did wrong. But if the offender confessed he would magnanimously forgive him. So Rama was righteous. He was unfailing in his duties. Because he was the son of Dasharatha he was called Dasharathi and because he was born in the dynasty of Raghu he came to be known as Raghava. Kakutswa, the grand son of Ikshwaku, was a matchless warrior. With Indra himself for his vehicle he had overcome rakshas in battle. Rama belonged to his dynasty and so was called Kaakuthsa.

The boys grew up and were in the threshold of youth. Dasharatha began to ponder over their marriages. At this time the great rishi Vishwamitra, arrived at his court.

Examination on Lesson – 2

Choose answers to all the questions . All the best !!

Q1. Who was the first to be born in the Univese ?

Ans:  a) Lord Brahma  b) Kashyapa  c)Daksha  d)Manu

Q2. Which was the capital of the Kingdom of Emperor Manu ?

Ans:  a)Koshal  b)Ayodhya  c)Magadh  d)Kekaya

Q3. Ayodhya was situated on the Banks of which river ?

Ans:  a)Ganga  b)Tamasa  c)Sarayu  d)Yamuna

Q4. Who was King Dasharatha’s first wife ?

Ans:  a)Diti  b)Aditi  c)Kaikeyi Devi  d)Kaushalya Devi

Q5. Who were King Dasharatha’s Principle priests ?

Ans:  a)Suyajana & Jabali b)Kashyapa & Gautama c)Vashista & Vamadeva d)Markandeya & Kartyayana

Q6. Who officiated the King Dasharatha’s Ashwamedha Yaga

Ans:  a)Rishi Rishyashringa  b)Sage Valmiki c)Sage Vasishta  d)Sage Vibhandaka

Q7. What was the name of the Son of Kaushalya Devi ?

Ans:  a)Laxmana b)Shatrughna  c)Bharata  d)Shri Rama

Correct Answer below