In the previous episode, we witnessed that while Rama and Sita were praying together to Lord Narayana (as per the instruction of Sage Vasishtaachaarya) an old woman by name Manthara, who was the helper of Kaikeyi comes into the picture. She learns about Rama’s coronation and becomes furious and agitated. With all her fury she walks up the stairs and reach Kaikeyi’s room. Kaikeyi was getting herself ready for the function with all her happiness.
“Saa dahya maanaa krodhena mantharaa papa darshini!
Utthista moode kinjeche bhayam tvaam abi varthathe!!”
Thus, Manthara, the disgusting woman (“Papa darshini”) enters Kaikeyi’s room and shouts at her: “Hey moodaathma (Foolish woman)!! Get up! (“Utthista moode kinjeche”) You are a big time loser! You’re going to lose everything in life and yet you are so happy and dressing up yourself? I never knew you were such a fool on this earth!”
Kaikeyi was perplexed on hearing Manthara’s sudden gush of words and she looks surprised for a moment! She then asks, “Oh Manthara! What happened now? Why are you shouting like this? What is wrong?” Upon Kaikeyi’s question, Manthara replies back, “Oh Kaikeyi! You do not know what is happening? Your son is not coronated to the throne of Ayodhya! Your son has lost the battle of succession!”
“Jaayasya puthramaathmaanam maancha vismaya darshane!”
Manthara continues in her explanation, “Oh Kaikeyi! You’re acting as if you don’t know anything! Please try and save your son’s future! Don’t sit like this as if nothing is happening around you!”
Kaikeyi didn’t understand all this for a moment! She replies to Manthara, “No! Yesterday evening I saw Dasharata and he had mentioned to me that my son is going to be coronated today morning! What is wrong now?”
Manthara didn’t understand Kaikeyi’s explanation and she again asks back, “Your son is to be coronated? It is Rama who is going to be coronated! Not Bharata! What are you blabbering?”
Upon which, Kaikeyi replies,
“Raamevaa bharatheevaa vishesham nopalakshaye!
Tasmaad dhusthaasmi yad raajaa raamam raajya vishekshyasi”
Kaikeyi reiterates to Manthara, “Oh Manthara! Don’t you know! Rama is my son! Bharatha is also my son! I see no difference in both of them! I’m happy that my son Rama is going to the king of Ayodhya from tomorrow!” Thus, Kaikeyi was so pure in her heart that she has never differentiated between the four children! It is this pure heart of Kaikeyi that was poisoned by this wicked woman Manthara! Alwar describes this beautifully in one of his “paasurams” in Tamil:
“Kalakkiya maa manathanalaal kaikesi varam venda!
Malakkiya maa manathanalaai mannavanum maraadhozhiya!
Thus Alwar says here, “Kalakkiya maa manathanalaai”, which means, the brainwashed, mesmerized Kaikeyi, asks for the two boons to King Dasharata (“Kaikesi varam venda”). Here, “Varam” means boon. Thus accordingly, King Dasharata couldn’t deny the two boons that he had promised to Kaikeyi, as we all know! This is what Alwar says in the next line – “Malakkiya maa manathanalaai mannavanum maraadhozhiya!” Accordingly, now Kaikeyi orders Rama to march towards the forest! (“Kolakkumaraa! Kaaduraiyappoo!”)
It is thus; Manthara poisons Kaikeyi’s heart slowly and slowly! She continues to preach Kaikeyi:
“Upasthaasyathi koushalyaa daaseevartham kruthaanjalihi!
Puthrasya tava raamasya presyathvam hi gamishyathi!!”
Manthara says, “Oh Kaikeyi! How can you say Rama and Bharata are both your sons? Just think for a moment! Once Rama takes up the throne, you would be a servant/helper to his mother Kaushalya! Your son Bharata won’t stand to gain anything from it! All the respect will go only to Rama and Kaushalya! You and your son would eventually be chased out of the palace after few years!” (“Upasthaasyathi koushalyaa daaseevartham kruthaanjalihi!”) Here, “Daasee” means servant! Thus, Manthara speaks whatever shouldn’t be spoken to Kaikeyi, and slowly brainwashes her! Thus she finally says, “Oh Kaikeyi!! Atleast now, get up and go, do the needful!”
Kaikeyi slowly becomes thoughtful and asks Manthara, “What should I do now?” Manthara is extremely happy upon hearing this question from Kaikeyi! What was her guidance to Kaikeyi? What did she ask Kaikeyi to do? Let’s wait to find out till the next episode!