In the previous episode we had commenced with the discussion on the “Ayodhya Kaanda” wherein we witnessed in the opening chapter that Bharata and Shathrugna leave for “Kekeya Desha” to spend some time with their uncle. Meanwhile, King Dasharata was in deep thought about the future of the Ayodhya Kingdom and thus he calls for the court session. He expressed his wish in the previous episode that he wants his eldest son Rama to be his formal successor and he be coroneted as early as possible. Sage Vasishtaachaarya was presiding the courtroom and he was listening carefully to the wish of King Dasharata.
Sage Vasishtaachaarya was both thoughtful and happy at the same time – Thoughtful because, being a “Brahma-Rishi” he was able to foresee a danger that is coming through with this decision, and happy because Rama was getting ready for a major responsibility! He thus conveys his consent and approval for King Dasharata’s wish. He says, “Oh Dasharata! We should have done this much before! However, it is only upon my instruction you had sent Rama along with Sage Vishwaamithra to the forest, and of course subsequently the marriage took place and now let us not delay further! Let’s proceed in making Rama succeed to the throne!”
Upon hearing this from his “Guru”, King Dasharata was spell bound with happiness! He thanks Sage Vasishtaachaarya for his approval.
Now, it is the time to appease the subjects of Ayodhya about this big decision. Accordingly, King Dasharata calls for a “Darbar” (A public hearing) and he announces his decision of Rama’s succession! In the present day, we talk about “Democracy” but it is very interesting to note that the art of democracy was in practice even in those days!
“Praapthya varsha sahasraani bahuun yaayunshi dheevathaha!
Jeernasyaashcha shareerasya visraanthi abhirojaye!!”
He says to the people of Ayodhya, “Oh my dearest people! I’ve given my 100% into protecting the kingdom and ensuring your welfare for the past 60,000 years! Now I feel that I’m old and I should retire to the ‘Vaanaprastha Ashrama”. I do not know if I still have that valor in my body so as to wage and fight wars, as I’m getting physically weaker by the day! (Jeernasyaashcha shareerasya) I’m thinking of coronating my eldest son Rama to the throne as my official successor and as the next king of Ayodhya! I want your suggestions on this!”
Thus King Dasharata expresses his decision to the people of Ayodhya. Normally, what should have been the people’s reply? Atleast for a name sake they should have said “Oh Dasharata! You’ve done a fantastic job so far! We wish that you may continue for a few more years!” However, the people of Ayodhya did what was unexpected! They rose up in unison and replied, “Oh! Old man! Please retire immediately!”
King Dasharata was shocked for a moment! He asks his people again, “Oh my dear people! Why are you so angry on me? Have I caused trouble to all of you in all these years of my rule?” Upon which, the people reply back, “No King Dasharata! This is not the point here! We are all waiting to see Rama as our king! We are eagerly awaiting the ‘Rama-Raajya’! We are eagerly waiting to see our Rama as our king!”
King Dasharata is very happy upon hearing the response from his people. However, he wants to hear more about Rama from them! To hear something good about his son, any father will be interested! That too, if the common people are appreciating his son, what is stopping King Dasharata from hearing more from them? So he asks back, “Oh my dearest people! What do you find so much good in Rama that you want him urgently as the king? What are the features of Rama that you like the most?”
Upon which, the people reply,
“Icchaamohi mahaabaahum raghuveeram mahaabalam!
Gajena mahathaayaantham raamam chathraavruthaananam!!”
The people of Ayodhya describe Rama’s significance – Rama is not an ordinary child, but is an invincible and a divine force! He has infinite strength (Raghuveeram Mahaabalam!) We want to witness the beauty of Rama sitting on the elegant elephant (Gajena mahathaayaantham) and at this time, while Lakshmana fans the “Chaamaram” (A type of a hand fan) for Rama, we want to look at His glorious face in the middle of this. (Raamam chathraavruthaananam)!
The people of Ayodhya go on to describe about Rama’s unique appearance and features – They say that they are itching to see Rama walking towards them like a confident lion, with his broad shoulders and confident, yet handsome face! Saint Thiyagaraja sings the following famous and the beautiful composition at this context:
“Saamaja vara gamana – Saadhu hrut!
Saarasaabhja Paala Kaalaateeta Vikhyaata!!”
Saint Thiyagaraja describes the beauty of Lord Rama – He says, Lord Rama is a majestic person with the majestic gait (Gamana) of a huge elephant (Saamaja)! He is like the sun who causes the hearts of His “Bhakthaas” (devotees) to blossom like a lotus flower with love and devotion! (Hrut – Saarasaabhja) and thus his name and fame transcends the entire world and time! (Kaalaateeta Vikhyaata)!
Thus, the people of Ayodhya were extremely happy with King Dasharata’s decision to coronate Rama to the throne! The entire city of Ayodhya goes into celebration mode once again! Let Ayodhya be in the celebration mood for today! We shall wait till the next episode to find out what happened subsequently! 🙂