In the previous episode we witnessed that the entire city of Ayodhya was colorful with the festive mood as Rama was getting ready for the coronation ceremony. Sage Vasishtaachaarya prepares himself to commence the rituals associated with the auspicious ceremony and as a first step, he asks Rama to offer a prayer to Lord Narayana, who’s divine idol was in the palace of Ayodhya for many generations now. We saw in due course of the last episode, the history of this idol of Lord Narayana, which is now the presiding deity of the important temple of Srirangam, in the city of Tiruchirapalli.
Now proceeding further from this point, Rama along with his beloved Sita goes inside the temple where the idol of Lord Narayana was present and prays together. At this point, Sage Vasishtaachaarya tells Rama to pray for the successful conduct of the coronation ceremony! Rama thinks to himself, “Oh! This Vasishtaachaarya is asking me to pray for the coronation ceremony to take place successfully!” If this is the case, this Ramayana story would be over by this episode and we won’t have anything to write and witness further episodes in the blog!!! 🙂 🙂 Rama continues in his prayer, “If everything goes as per this Sage Vasishtaachaarya’s wish, how will I fulfill the purpose for which I was born? How am I going to go and kill Ravana? Where is this Manthara? Why is she not going to meet Kaikeyi still? Oh Lord Narayana! I’ve come to this earth with a purpose, and it is you who can help me in fulfilling that purpose! Hence, please send this Manthara to meet Kaikeyi soon!” 🙂
Thus, Rama and Sita offer their prayers to Lord Narayana. Valmiki Maharishi beautifully describes it with the following sloka:
“Saha pathniyaa visaalaakshyaa naaraayanam upaagamath!”
Thus, Rama takes Sita who has long and beautiful eyes (“Visaalaakshyaa”) and offers prayers to Lord Narayana. It was only once Rama starts his prayer, things start moving quickly, as Manthara arrives at the scene for the first time. This Manthara is an old woman who is the servant/helper of Kaikeyi. She incidentally passes through that particular place where people were talking about Rama’s coronation ceremony. Upon hearing it, Manthara was shocked and furious and she goes straight into Kaikeyi’s dwelling place. She did not like Rama to be coronated! (I shall explain the reason in the subsequent episodes). While she was going towards Kaikeyi’s room, she was making plans as to how to stop this coronation ceremony from taking place!
“Nyaathidaasi yatho jaathaa kaikeyaarthu saboshithaaha!
Praasaadham chathra shankaasam aaruroha yadhirchayaa!!
Avi dhooreshthithaam drishtvaa dhaadreem prappascha manthara!
Utthamenaadhi samyukthaa harshenaartha phalaasathi!!”
Here, Valmiki Maharishi beautifully describes the entry of Manthra into the scene. He says, this woman passed by this place “by chance” (“Aaruroha yadhirchayaa”). This woman with wicked intentions climbed up the stairs to reach Kaikeyi’s place (“Praasaadham chathra shankaasam”)!
Thus, Manthara enters into Kaikeyi’s room with all her fury and anguish. Why was she so furious? What did this Manthara converse with Kaikeyi? Did Kaikeyi entertain her? Was she successful in brainwashing Kaikeyi? Let’s wait to see in the next episode!