In the last few episodes we’ve been witnessing that Ayodhya is in a festive mood yet again, thanks to the coronation ceremony of Rama scheduled very soon! The entire city is celebrating and rejoicing the festive mood as Sage Vasishtaachaarya and other important maharishis in King Dasharata’s courtroom prepare themselves for the big event! Rama and Sita, according to the instruction of Sage Vasishtaachaarya offer their prayers to Lord Narayana before the commencement of all the rituals. Meanwhile, the wicked old woman, Manthara comes to know what is going on and with all her frustration, rushes to meet Kaikeyi. It is to be remembered that Manthara is the servant (Daasi) of Kaikeyi. She barges into Kaikeyi’s chamber and explains about Rama’s coronation and how her son Bharata has lost out to Rama on this. Initially Kaikeyi couldn’t understand why is Manthara talking all these nonsense to her and why is she differentiating between Rama and Bharata! It is only at this point, Manthara starts to brainwash Kaikeyi by repeatedly saying that herself and Bharata would eventually be chased out of the kingdom as all the prominence would only be given to Rama and his mother Kaushalya if he is coronated and thus this coronation ceremony should be stopped at any cost! This should not proceed further!
After a few moments of brainwashing, Kaikeyi loses her thinking power completely and gets completely carried away with Manthara’s words! She slowly asks Manthara as to what should be done now!
“Swaarthamabhlubhaye praapthe dahyamaaneva manthare!
Bhavishyathi cha kalyaani kimidham paridhamsathe!!”
Yathaavai bharatho maanyaha tathaa bhooyobhi raaghavaha!
Kaushalya thaatharitthamcha mama sushruche bahu!!”
Thus from the above slokas, Manthara says, “Just how I’m a servant to you today, you would also become a servant to Kaushalya eventually in the future if Rama is coronated! Oh Kaikeyi! Please understand this! Dasharata and Kaushalya are trying to plot against you and your son Bharata!”
“Eva mukthvaa tathaa devyaa mantharaa paapa darshini!
Raamaartham upahum santhi kaikeyi idam abhraveeth!!”
Upon hearing all this from Manthara, Kaikeyi slowly starts to ponder upon! She is now getting completely brainwashed and Manthara is beginning to taste success already in her mission! Even today in the area of “Marketing”and “Sales”, when the sale has to be done to a customer, the most important job of a salesperson is to make the customer think! Once that thinking happens, it’s very easy to convince the customer to buy your product! Similarly here too we see that Kaikeyi starts to think and Manthara rightly captured this moment! Thus, Kaikeyi slowly asks Manthara, “What should I do now to stop the coronation from happening?”
“Puraa devaasure yuddhe saha raakshasadhippathihi!
Aagacchathvaamupaadhaaya devaraajascha saakshyakrith!!
Sasambra ithighyaathaha shatamaayo mayaasuraha!
Tushtena tena dadhyauthe dvou varau shuba dharshane!!”
Manthara now guides Kaikeyi as to what to do. She says, “Oh Kaikeyi! Now you’ve asked a valid question! Don’t you remember that in your early days of marriage, you had saved Dasharata’s life during a war with the ‘Raakshasaas’? Don’t you also remember that King Dasharata at that time, had offered to grant two unconditional boons to you and you’re still yet to ask them? Now is the time to ask for those two unconditional boons! (“Dvou varau shuba dharshane”)”
Kaikeyi was still not fully convinced with Manthara’s explanation. She asks back, “Oh Manthara! You are asking me to ask for two selfish boons to my own husband? Saving his life during the war was my duty! I have performed my duty without expecting anything in return! Of course, out of immense happiness, he had granted me the boons. I agree! But how can I take my beloved husband’s happiness and use it for my selfish needs? I’m not going to do all this!”
The moment Kaikeyi was backing out, Manthara again intervenes. She says, “The time has come now to ask for them! Whatever you think of doesn’t matter now! Past is past! If you’ve to survive in this palace… I don’t even care about you! If your son Bharata has to survive in this palace any longer, you need to ask for those two boons now!”
The moment Kaikeyi heard the phrase “Your son Bharata” from Manthara, she got completely entangled into the “Puthra Vaatsalya” (Attachment towards her son)! She now gets completely convinced by Manthara’s arguments!
Thus Kaikeyi prepares herself mentally to ask for two boons! What are those two boons? What did Kaikeyi ask King Dasharata? Let’s wait till the next episode to find out!